Triple Crown aim for O'Brien

15 May 2018 05:38:15 EST

Aidan O'Brien admits he has always been thinking of aiming Saxon Warrior at the Triple Crown of Flat Classics this season.

The unbeaten Deep Impact colt took the step up to a mile in his stride this month when running out an impressive winner of the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket.

He's firmly on target now for a run in the Derby at Epsom on the first Saturday in June and, should he prevail there, the St Leger at Doncaster would be firmly in his focus.

O'Brien has come agonisingly close to the Triple Crown before, when Camelot was narrowly foiled by Encke in his bid to add the St Leger to his Newmarket and Epsom triumphs in 2012.

Not since his predecessor and namesake Vincent O'Brien achieved the feat with Nijinsky in 1970 has any colt managed to complete the treble, but the current master of Ballydoyle has those grand designs on his mind.

"It's never the be-all and end-all," he said of the possibility, "but every horse is taken individually. I would imagine if it did come to pass [winning the Derby], the [Coolmore] lads would think very hard about doing it."

Saxon Warrior is now 3/1 to complete the Triple Crown of 2,000 Guineas, Derby and St Leger this season.

Running him over a mile on his first start of the season was a conscious decision with the Triple Crown in mind, admits the trainer, as he didn't want to start Saxon Warrior out over seven-furlongs this term given what is still to come over intermediate trips.

"We hoped a horse might come along so we could try it again, and that's part of the reason why Saxon Warrior started in the Guineas," he added.

"We could have gone for the Dante but we thought if there was a chance we had a Triple Crown horse this year, it was going to be him. We're still alive and kicking after the first round."

Saxon Warrior is 4/6 to win the Derby at Epsom on Saturday 2nd June.

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