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"Nothing about the run made any sense" - City Of Troy still on track for Epsom despite Guineas blowout

jon-vine
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Last updated: 07 May 2024
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Jon Vine 07 May 2024
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  • City Of Troy is still being aimed at the Epsom Derby
  • Aidan O'Brien's star finished a disappointing ninth in the 2000 Guineas on his reappearance
  • Read O'Brien's thoughts on that run and future plans for City Of Troy 
2000 guineas
City Of Troy (second left) finishing ninth as Notable Speech wins the 2000 Guineas. (Getty)

City Of Troy remains on-course for the Epsom Derby, according to trainer Aidan O'Brien, who spoke to the press following his star's comeback run in the 2000 Guineas.

O'Brien had mentioned a potential Triple Crown challenge this term for City Of Troy, who won the Superlative Stakes and the Dewhurst during an unbeaten juvenile campaign. Ryan Moore's mount went into Saturday's 2000 Guineas as the odds-on favourite, without running in a prep race beforehand.

Despite his overwhelming strength in the market, it was clear from an early stage that the favourite was in trouble. As William Buick wound up eventual winner, Notable Speech on the outsider of the field, City Of Troy tumble out of contention, eventually finishing 16-length adrift of the victor.

Speaking at the Curragh on Sunday, Aidan O'Brien reflected at length on City Of Troy's underwhelming reappearance.

"I think that maybe I might have left him too fresh. I probably treated him like too much of a god through the winter and because of that he was too fresh. Nothing about the run made any sense."

"When he got into the stalls, he jumped around a bit and he didn't get a chance to relax, so he would have hit the gates when his heart rate was very high. When they start a race with a heart rate so high, they can only last for so long in a race. That's probably why he only got to halfway. 

"He got down to the start grand, but the minute he got into the stalls he started jumping around, then the gates opened because he was last in."

"When a horse starts panicking like that, their heart rate rises up straight away so his heart was probably beating at close to 200 beats a minute. When you start off a race with a heartbeat that high, you really only get to halfway in any race. I think that's what happened to him. He was too fresh really and that's what we're putting it down to.

"He has always been very relaxed in the stalls, but maybe I should have done a bit of stalls work with him before the race, but I didn't. I just never anticipated something like that happening with him."

12 months ago, Auguste Rodin produced a similarly lacklustre performance on his return to action at Newmarket and still managed to land the Epsom Derby. On breeding, Auguste Rodin was always going to make up into a better three-year-old. The same can't be said for City Of Troy, however, who's damn failed to train on after an impressive two-year-old campaign and his four siblings managed one win from 26 starts as three and four-year-olds.

Despite those concerns, the bookmakers haven't given up hope on City Of Troy winning the Epsom Derby - with most listing him as a general 9/2 shot - and Aidan O'Brien is still keen to take last year's leading juvenile down the Derby path.

"I don't know what's going to happen in any race ever, but all I know is that he had a programme set out for him and you don't always hit every marker on the programme. But that doesn't always mean you won't get back on the road and hit other markers.

"Like any sport, or like anything in life, everyday can't always be a great day. It makes you appreciate the good days and we don't ever take anything for granted. Nothing is ever written in stone and none of us knows what's going to happen on any given day."

"We're not going to change anything from what we said we were doing with him."

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