Another Rowley Mile triumph edges O’Brien closer to record

WINNING FEELING: Roly Poly heads the field on the way to victory in the Sun Chariot Stakes. Picture: Geoffrey Pieters
WINNING FEELING: Roly Poly heads the field on the way to victory in the Sun Chariot Stakes. Picture: Geoffrey Pieters

Aidan O’Brien moved a step closer to breaking the Group 1 record after Roly Poly clinched the Kingdom of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes on Saturday.

That win — O’Brien’s third on the Rowley Mile in a week — took the prolific Ballydoyle trainer on to 23 top-grade victories for the year, meaning just three more before the end of 2017 would be enough to surpass Bobby Frankel’s record of 25.

Three of those victories have come courtesy of Roly Poly, who not only overcame a wide draw, but also finished ahead of John Gosden’s much-fancied favourite Persuasive.

A week earlier Gosden and Frankie Dettori had teamed up to win the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe with Enable in stunning fashion, but they had to settle for second spot on this occasion.

Speaking to ITV, a triumphant O’Brien said: “It has been a big team effort and they have done an unbelievable job.

“She is a great filly. She is tough and has a big heart.

“She is out of Galileo — a very good Galileo mare. She has great pedigree behind her.”

With regard to his pursuit of Frankel’s record, which was set in 2003, O’Brien was keen to talk up a collective effort.

“It would be incredible for everybody, but the horse always comes first — that is always the important thing,” he added.

“After every race the lads sit down and have a chat among themselves to see what race they want to pick.

“They have a big discussion with everyone around them, pick a target and we go with that.

“We are doing our best in every race and that is all we can do.”

O’Brien can draw level with Frankel on the Rowley Mile this weekend with three entrants in both Friday’s bet365 Fillies’ Mile and the Darley Dewhurst Stakes on Saturday.

Victories in those would provide the Irishman with the chance to make history on Qipco British Champions Day at Ascot a week later, when the likes of Caravaggio and Winter are set to be in action.