Top Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien has been the dominant force in horse racing during the 21st century, winning countless number of top-class races around the world.
Much of his success has been based around the offspring of Galileo – O’Brien’s first Epsom Derby winner who subsequently became a successful stallion.
The latest star off the production line is City Of Troy, an exciting colt who could become the best horse O’Brien has ever trained. Galileo’s grandson was sired by Triple Crown winner Justify out of Together Forever – the winner of the Group 1 Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket as a two-year-old.
City Of Troy won on his debut under jockey Ryan Moore at The Curragh on July 1, before running out a hugely impressive winner of the Group 2 Superlative Stakes at Newmarket later the same month.
He then produced a sensational performance in the Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes at the same track, finishing three-and-a-half lengths of his rivals. O’Brien believes the horse is a superstar.
“He has been a very special horse from a very early stage,” he told Racing TV. “When we ran him first time, Ryan rode him forward and he started letting him go to the two-furlong marker.
“He took off going to the line and Ryan said he never ever got a fright like that before – he said he galloped down to the white wall at The Curragh as if it wasn’t even there. He’d been working very well and we thought he would win, but you’re never sure.
Online bookmakers in the United Kingdom have been suitably impressed with City Of Troy, installing him as the Evens favourite for the 2000 Guineas and 9/4 market leader for the Epsom Derby.
However, several Irish bookies are being slightly more generous than their UK counterparts, offering odds of 5/4 and 5/2 for the horse to emerge victorious in the two Classics. Punters will need to be quick to grab those prices, with Irish sportsbooks likely to be inundated with wagers after O’Brien’s comments about the horse.
On leading horse racing betting sites in Ireland you can find ante-post prices on all next year’s big races, which will give you the best chance of grabbing some early value on City Of Troy for next season.
Coolmore boss Michael Tabor was equally bullish about the horse after his Dewhurst victory, further adding to the feeling that the horse is destined for greatness. Tabor claimed he could go on to emulate Frankel’s exploits in the sport – high praise given what he achieved on the racetrack.
“This horse is our Frankel – I really think that,” Tabor said. “There is no question in my mind, by his comments, that Aidan thinks this horse is probably the best he’s ever trained.
“He was nervous with the ground and when you tackle that unknown factor, there’s always a chance that they just won’t do it. He’s got that action, that very low action, but they say that a good horse goes on any ground.
“This is a good horse and he obviously does go on any ground, but I’d say he’ll be much better on top of the ground. I know the way Aidan speaks and we’re all optimists – you have to be in life in my opinion, in this game especially – but this horse is special. No question, he is special. He is the real deal.”
Tabor’s view will undoubtedly ramp up expectations about a horse that is being touted as a potential Triple Crown winner. Coolmore came close to achieving the feat with Camelot, with the horse winning the 2000 Guineas and Epsom Derby before narrowly missing out in the St Leger.
Winning the Triple Crown would arguably place City Of Troy above Frankel in the all-time greatest list, although it is worth noting that comparing horses from different eras is an exercise in futility.
O’Brien often talks about his horses in glowing terms, but the manner of his affection for City Of Troy suggests he knows this horse is different from anything he has previously trained.
Flat racing has been short of a superstar since Frankel was on the scene – City Of Troy may well be the one who eclipses what he achieved during his glittering career.