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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 12 December 2018

Saxon Warrior victory at Newmarket brings up major milestones for Aidan O'Brien and son

By winning the 2000 Guineas, the Irish trainer reached 300 Group 1 wins, while for his jockey son Donnacha, it was the first of his career

Donnacha O'Brien rides Saxon Warrior to victory in the English 2000 Guineas Stakes at Newmarket Racecourse. Alan Crowhurst / Getty Images
Donnacha O'Brien rides Saxon Warrior to victory in the English 2000 Guineas Stakes at Newmarket Racecourse. Alan Crowhurst / Getty Images

Aidan O’Brien celebrated his ninth 2000 Guineas title on Saturday as jockey son Donnacha O’Brien rode Saxon Warrior to victory at Newmarket.

The Deep Impact colt took up the running from 200 metres to register his second Group 1 success and stretch his unbeaten record to four races.

The Roger Teal-trained Tip Two Win under David Probert ran an impressive race to finish second ahead of Godolphin’s Masar with William Buick atop.

O’Brien, who is primarily in the United States to oversee UAE Derby winner Mendelssohn’s preparation for the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, reached a milestone by achieving 300 Group 1 wins.

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“A huge thanks to all the owners for giving me the chance to ride him and especially to dad for the faith in putting me on him in the first place,” Donnacha O'Brien said on ITV Racing.

“It's very special. Obviously, I'm winning this race and riding in big races because of the position I'm in. I'm just very grateful. He's a very good horse, he's a proper horse and he'll stay a mile and a half.”

Murillo, Saxon Warrior’s stable companion, set the early pace under Wayne Lordan followed by the Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid-owned Elarqam and Cardsharp in the silks of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed.

Masar raced along the near rails over the straight mile. Saxon Warrior raced behind the leaders before cruising past them to lead at the final 200m mark to win by a length and-a-half, with a head separating the second and third.

Elarqam, who got a little upset in the stalls, stuck to his task willingly after coming under pressure and finished half a length outside of the places in fourth,

Paul Smith, son of co-owner Derrick, paid tribute to Aidan O’Brien and his son Donnacha, who won his first Classic title.

“That's 300 Group Ones wins for Aidan and Donnacha's first Classic. They are an incredible family,” he said. “It was really eye-catching, Donnacha couldn't speak too highly of him. He said when he quickened it was all over in a flash.

“He probably got there sooner than he wanted to, but he had so much horse under him. It's very exciting when they have that speed and look like they'll get further. All things point to June (Derby) now.”

Charlie Appleby, the Godolphin trainer took some consolation by saddling four wins at Newmarket, with William Buick aboard for each race. Key Victory took the Listed Newmarket Stakes, while Oasis Charm and Tribal Quest claimed two handicap prizes. Symbolization then claimed the concluding handicap.

Having missed out on the first English Classic of the season, Appleby will be hoping Solilquy and Wild Illusion can challenge the four O’Brien entries led by the Ryan Moore-ridden Happily in the 1000 Guineas today.

Soliloquy is Buick’s choice and comes on the back of a victory in the Group 3 Nell Gwyn Stakes over 1,400m on her reappearance on April 18.

Of the other O’Brien runners, Seamie Heffernan rides I Can Fly, Donnacha is atop Sizzling and Lordan is booked on Sarrocchi.