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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 September 2018

Aidan O'Brien 'delighted' as Saxon Warrior's win at Doncaster gives Irish trainer record 26th Group 1 victory of 2017

The Deep Impact colt holds off challenge of Roaring Lion to take the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster

Aidan O'Brien, centre, celebrates as Saxon Warrior wins at Doncaster to give him a record 26 Group 1 winners in a year. Alan Crowhurst / Getty Images
Aidan O'Brien, centre, celebrates as Saxon Warrior wins at Doncaster to give him a record 26 Group 1 winners in a year. Alan Crowhurst / Getty Images

Aidan O'Brien secured a record 26th Group 1 victory of the year as Saxon Warrior claimed the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster.

The Deep Impact colt made a huge impression on his racecourse debut at the Curragh and having followed up in last month's Beresford Stakes at Naas, he was the heavy favourite to provide his trainer with an eighth triumph in this juvenile event.

Ryan Moore's mount travelled powerfully throughout the 1,600-metre contest, but looked booked for minor honours when the John Gosden-trained Roaring Lion swept alongside and briefly went to the front.

However, he veered off a true line when push came to shove, giving Saxon Warrior a chance and he fought back admirably to claim a historic victory by a neck.

The winner's stablemate, The Pentagon, was third.

O'Brien surpassed the record for number of top-level wins in a calendar year set by American trainer Bobby Frankel in 2003.

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He told ITV Racing: "I'm delighted and delighted for everybody. There's a lot of hard work put in by a lot of people in Ballydoyle and Coolmore.

"It's unbelievable really. There are so many people who put in so much hard work day in, day out. If I start mentioning people, I'd forget somebody. They know who they are.

"It's a privilege to be working with such special people. We're in a very lucky position and we're a small link in a big chain."

Of Saxon Warrior, the trainer added: "He travelled very strong and Ryan gave him a brilliant ride.

"When John's horse went by him you thought he was beaten, but he found plenty and we're delighted."

O'Brien paid tribute to the Coolmore triumvirate of John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith for producing such incredible thoroughbreds for him to train.

He said: "You're always afraid when you want something to happen, it doesn't happen.

"I couldn't believe it when this horse came back. When John's horse came by him I said 'that's it, he'll be second', but Ryan really conjured a new run out of him.

"It's been a funny year really. A lot of horses have progressed and progressed. There were so many horses like that, it was unusual.

"A lot of very well-bred horses just got better and better. The lads have an unbelievable band of mares and stallions and there are a lot of horses with blue chip pedigrees.

"The genes are obviously there if you can get them to fire up."

Paul Smith, son of Saxon Warrior's part-owner Derrick Smith, told At The Races: "I'm so pleased for Aidan and everyone at Ballydoyle.

"It wasn't straightforward, but I've spoken to Ryan (Moore) and he was very happy and very complimentary about the horse.

"He travelled beautifully and quickened up when John Gosden's horse came alongside.

"He's still a bit inexperienced and still a bit green and there's a very strong crosswind as well.

"He travelled well and toughed it out well, which are the qualities you need in a good horse."

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