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Saxon Warrior powers to QIPCO 2000 Guineas glory

5 May 2018

Unbeaten colt gives Aidan O'Brien a 300th Group 1 success and is now a general Evens for the Derby

O’Brien is all smiles after guiding Saxon Warrior to victory in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas. Picture:

Saxon Warrior gave teenager Donnacha O’Brien a first Classic success and his father a remarkable 300th Group One prize when storming to an emphatic length-and-a-half victory in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas at Newmarket on Saturday.

The first Classic of the season launched the new QIPCO British Champions Series in style, with 3-1 chance Saxon Warrior preserving his unbeaten record and being cut to Evens for the Investec Derby at Epsom next month.

Tip Two Win, an unconsidered 50-1 chance, was a valiant second, with Masar, the 5-2 favourite, third. Elarqam, Roaring Lion and Gustav Klimt – all pattern winners – filled the next three places.

Fears about the mile trip being too sharp proved unfounded as O’Brien’s ‘monster’ colt stayed on strongly up the hill to add a second Group One success to his CV after winning last year’s Racing Post Trophy.

O’Brien Sr, away in America for Mendelssohn’s run in the Kentucky Derby, missed watching his record ninth winner of the race but his 19-year-old son said: “It’s very special, I’ve got to say a huge thanks to dad and the owners for giving me the chance to sit on him and hopefully I didn’t mess up today.

“He travelled beautiful and I thought we were the winner the whole way. I probably got a bit excited at the two pole when I gave him a squeeze a bit early.

“He’s an absolute monster of a horse so you never know, he could improve again. I was very impressed, I thought he was a very good horse even on his homework, we’ve made no secret of it, and I think he’s very, very good.”

He added: “If I had to put my neck on the line I would say his optimum trip would be about a mile and a quarter, he’s not slow but he’s bred to stay. He’s very relaxed so I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he got a mile and a half but it’s not my decision.”

Winning owner Michael Tabor said: “Aidan said Saxon Warrior would only improve but he added the caveat that he could still win or at least run a big race, that’s how special he thought he was.

“Aidan might say otherwise but I would say he’ll go straight to the Derby now. Obviously a mile is not his ideal trip but when a horse has the speed and class of Saxon Warrior we were always hopeful that a mile would be fine, which it proved to be.

“Common sense would say this wouldn’t be his ideal trip, he’s a mile and a half horse and there is surely more to come from him as he goes up in trip.

“I would rather back it than lay it, evens is what he should be. Other horses will come out of the woodwork but they will have to be good to beat him.”