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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 23 June 2018

Happily and US Navy Flag carry Aidan O'Brien's hopes at Newmarket

Irishman has 23 Group 1 winners this year, two shy of record set by American Bobby Frankel in 2003

Seamie Heffernan rides US Navy Flag, centre to victory in win TheJuddmonte Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket racecourse on September 3. Alan Crowhurst / Getty Images
Seamie Heffernan rides US Navy Flag, centre to victory in win TheJuddmonte Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket racecourse on September 3. Alan Crowhurst / Getty Images

Aidan O’Brien sends out seven runners at Newmarket this weekend looking to draw level with Bobby Frankel's record for most elite wins in a single season.

The American trainer's record tally of 25 has stood since 2003, beating Irishman O'Brien's mark of 23 set two years previous, the same number of which he has accumulated in 2017.

The Ballydoyle trainer saddles Happily, Magical and September entered in the Fillies Mile on Friday.

Ryan Moore, who rode Happily to victory in the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere on Arc day at Chantilly on October 1 will again partner the Galileo filly.

“Happily came out of her win against the colts very well and we've also been happy with the other two fillies since they last ran,” said O’Brien who has won the last three editions of the Fillies Mile.

O’Brien also has a strong hand in Saturday's Dewhurst Stakes, led by the Middle Park winner US Navy Flag, with Seahenge, a Group 2 winner, Mendelssohn and Threeandfourpence providing able support.

“We always thought he worked like a nice horse but he was just a little bit slow to learn,” O’Brien said of US Navy Flag.

“We were happy with him in the Middle Park; he seems to have come out of that very well.

“Seahenge was very green the first day and was a bit green again at Goodwood, but he did it well in the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster, where Donnacha [O’Brien] gave him a lovely ride.”

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Mendelssohn finished last of the seven runners behind Seahenge at Doncaster, but O’Brien says the colt has been working much better in headgear.

“Mendelssohn was behind Seahenge at Doncaster but Ryan [Moore] felt he banged himself a little."

Godolphin has Magic Lily entered in the Fillies Mile, who comes into the race with solid form, supplemented after an eight-length victory on her racecourse debut at Newmarket more than two weeks ago.

“She’s a filly we were confident would run a nice race on her first-up start, but she ended up winning very impressively and seeing out the one mile trip really well,” said trainer Charlie Appleby.

“She did a nice piece of work last Saturday and that made our minds up to supplement her.”

In the Dewhurst Stakes, the John Gosden-trained Emaraaty and Mark Johnston’s Cardsharp carry the hopes of Dubai owners Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid and Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai.

Expert Eye could prove a challenge. The Michael Stoute-trained colt has won both his races, including a Group 2 Vintage Stakes in his latest start.

Elsewhere, Godolphin are competing for three Group 1 prizes at the Caulfield racetrack in Australia on Saturday.

Alizee is entered in the Thousand Guineas, Hartnell in the Ladbroke Stakes and both Sanctioned and Kementari in the Caulfield Guineas.