Little Big Bear and Auguste Rodin on track for Newmarket.
After Saturday’s racing at the Curragh, Ballydoyle trainer Aidan O’Brien took a strong team of horses to gallop, which pleased the Derby favourite Auguste Rodin and Little Big Bear.
The three-year-old son of Deep Impact, Auguste Rodin, was seen four times during his juvenile season. On his debut, he finished second, but he went on to win the KPMG Champions Juvenile Stakes and the Vertem Futurity Trophy Stakes.
After losing his debut as well, Little Big Bear won his next four races, winning the Windsor Castle at Royal Ascot and stepping up in grade to win the Phoenix Stakes and the Anglesey Stakes.
Both horses are working behind The Antarctic, a horse that will compete in a sprint with stablemate Aesop’s Fables, in the Newmarket 2000 Guineas.
O’Brien said: “Little Big Bear, you’d have to be very happy with him as he hasn’t seen a track since the Phoenix Stakes. Seamus (Heffernan) said he was a bit on the bridle, a bit fresh, but travelled and finished very well.
“Wayne (Lordan) was very happy with Auguste Rodin. He was relaxed and did everything right. You couldn’t be happier with him.
“Obviously he’ll be looking at the Guineas. He’ll definitely go there without a run.
“When you are following up the likes of The Antarctic there, there are very few races you’d get as strong as that piece of work. They are highly-rated horses.
“Little Big Bear finished out very easy and Seamus seemed very happy. That was seven and a half furlongs today and he’ll go straight to the Guineas as well.
“We’ll take them home now and see how they are.”
He added: “We were very happy with The Antarctic. He’s probably going to go sprinting. Aesop’s Fables is the same, he’ll go sprinting. The Antarctic seems very versatile ground-wise.”
Another horse that will compete in sprinting is Tenebrism; however, Meditate, the winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, has set her immediate early-season goal at the 1000 Guineas.
Tenebrism, Thoughts of June, Point Lonsdale, Luxembourg, the Irish Champion Stakes winner, and Emily Dickinson all worked together and have plans in place for the campaign’s early and latter phases.
O’Brien said: “Tenebrism is going to go sprinting this year. Thoughts Of June will go for a mile-and-a-half fillies’ Group Three. Meditate will go straight to the Guineas.
“We haven’t seen Point Lonsdale out since the Guineas and Seamus was very happy with him. He might go to the Mooresbridge.
“Wayne was very happy with Luxembourg. He’ll probably start in the Ganay in France and then come here for the Tattersalls Gold Cup. Physically he’s done very well.
“Emily Dickinson will probably go the Gold Cup route and she’ll start in Navan in the Vintage Crop Stakes. She was very good over two miles here and when she stepped up in trip was by far her best.”
His trainer is confident that Tower Of London, who finished second to Auguste Rodin on Irish Champions Weekend but won on debut, has more to offer.
He said: “Dylan (Browne McMonagle) rode Tower Of London and he was very happy with him. We thought he was a very good horse, he won his maiden in Leopardstown and then ran very keen in the race that Auguste Rodin won.
“He didn’t run after that and obviously that wasn’t his run. He looked very impressive the day he won.”