Wednesday's Neptune Investment Management Great Voltigeur Stakes at York
Last Updated: 20/08/14 11:55am
Aidan O'Brien: Trains Granddukeoftuscany.
View from connections ahead of Wednesday's Neptune Investment Management Great Voltigeur Stakes at York.
Aidan O'Brien is hoping Granddukeoftuscany can stake his claim for a place in next month's Ladbrokes St Leger with a bold display in Wednesday's Neptune Investment Management Great Voltigeur Stakes at York.
The Galileo colt was only sixth on his debut at the Curragh in early June, but improved immeasurably from his first run to his second.
Reappearing just over a fortnight later at Tipperary, he bolted up by an incredible 19 lengths and is trading at around 12-1 for the Doncaster Classic.
However, there are three horses in the betting for the Classic a shorter odds also running in this Group Two.
"Granddukeoftuscany had a nice run at the Curragh first time. He obviously improved and then he won his maiden very easily. He is a horse that got a mile and a half well the last time, so you would think and hope that he would probably get further in time," said O'Brien.
Asked whether Granddukeoftuscany would come under consideration for next month's St Leger, O'Brien said: "We take one race at a time, but it is a race that could suit him.
"It is a big step up from a maiden to a Group Two, so we'll see how he gets on and discuss plans after that. But obviously we would be hoping he might turn into that type of horse."
O'Brien also runs Indian Maharaja, who won both his starts as a juvenile but was well beaten in a Guineas trial and has not been seen since after a slight setback.
"Indian Maharaja is a horse that won two from two last year. First time out this year in bad ground in Leopardstown, he just pulled a muscle in his back, but he is back ready to run. He has only run at a mile, so this will be new territory for him," said O'Brien.
Favourite for both the Voltigeur and St Leger is Derby runner-up Kingston Hill, who was fourth in the Eclipse against older horses over 10 furlongs when last seen.
Trainer Roger Varian told his website: "Kingston Hill is in great form and has been training nicely. I am very pleased with him and we are looking forward to running him on Wednesday."
Andrea Atzeni will again miss the ride on Kingston Hill due to his commitment to owner Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum who fields Postponed, trained by Luca Cumani.
He won the Listed Glasgow Stakes at Hamilton last time out and is progressing nicely.
"The manner in which Postponed won at Hamilton was impressive but the Great Voltigeur field will be much more of a challenge," said Cumani.
"He's been a bit of a playboy his whole life but he's starting to understand what is required of him and he appears more professional in his homework since his last run.
"Providing he gets good or better ground, we hope to see further improvement."
Sir Michael Stoute's Snow Sky was fancied for the Derby in some quarters having won the Lingfield Derby Trial but he missed the Classic due to a last-minute setback.
He was fourth in the King Edward VII at Ascot but regained the winning thread in a blanket finish to the Gordon Stakes at Goodwood, where he did well to win considering he had got very warm beforehand.
Jockey James Doyle told At The Races: "I was pleased with him at Goodwood, I think people probably went over the top about him beforehand. He's a bit of a playboy, he just got a little bit hot but it was nothing to worry about.
"I was pleased with him in the race. I probably got there a bit too soon on him and he idled a bit but he knuckled down and galloped to the line, he stays very well and I'm looking forward to it."
James Given's Odeon shaped well in the Dante at the track behind subsequent French Derby winner The Grey Gatsby, but he has disappointed twice since at Ascot and Hamilton.
"He came out of Hamilton well. We felt it would be nice if we could get him to settle and follow a horse, but I think that was an error. His full-brother Kite Wood used to bowl along in front and, without giving our hand, I think we will be letting Odeon bowl along," said Given.
"I have been a little bit disappointed since the Dante. I think he sweated too much at Ascot. It's cauldron there and a real test of a horse's character. It was a hot, airless day and I think it all got too much for him.
"He then got loose and didn't run in the Bahrain Trophy at Newmarket, so the Glasgow Stakes was a bit of an afterthought. We then tried to hold him up and that didn't suit.
"I think a real test of stamina is what he wants as opposed to a race where they travel, travel, travel and then quicken. He wants a good, even gallop.
"We are hoping he can use this as a stepping stone to the St Leger."
John Gosden's Marzocco will wear blinkers for the first time and jockey William Buick wrote in his At The Races blog: "It was too soft when we were beaten in the Grand Prix de Paris at Longchamp last month and he didn't quite get home over two miles in the Queen's Vase at Royal Ascot when he got a bump close home and was beaten two lengths by Hartnell.
"The long straight should be ideal for him and the ground will be decent. I'm sure that a set of blinkers will add an edge to him, too, because he's got talent."