Joseph O’Brien says he cannot wait to test his stable star State Of Rest back at the mile trip in Sunday’s Prix Jacques Le Marois at Deauville, live on Sky Sports Racing.
The four-year-old colt has been at the peak of his powers this season, landing the Prix Ganay at ParisLongchamp on his seasonal appearance before a good third in the Tattersalls Gold Cup and most recently taking out the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Those victories, alongside international glory last season in the Saratoga Derby and Cox Plate in Australia, have taken his career earnings to just under £3m.
However, all of his runs were over around the 10-furlong trip, a distance he has thrived over in the last year, with Sunday’s Group One being run over a mile at Deauville against younger rivals, including Charlie Appleby’s duo Coroebus and Native Trail.
And although that distance question mark hangs over State Of Rest, trainer Joseph O’Brien insists his horse should have the speed to cope with his rivals at this level.
“It looks a tough race but we are looking forward to seeing how he will run at a mile,” O’Brien exclusively told Sky Sports Racing.
“We always had it as an option – we had a lot of options and this was one of them. We are pleased with his training so we are looking forward to seeing how he goes.
“He’s always been a horse with a lot of speed and it’ll be interesting to see how he’ll perform at a shorter distance.
“All he can do is win and every time he goes to the track he turns up and he has no problem leading like he did the last time.
“He’s a horse that certainly can perform well at a mile but whether he can win a Group One at a mile we’ll find out at the weekend.
“He’s proved himself a horse of the highest class so we’re looking forward to it.”
Other rivals for Sunday’s big race, live on Sky Sports Racing, include John and Thady Gosden’s Inspiral, Japanese contender Bathrat Leon and Order Of Australia, trained by Joseph’s father Aidan.
One horse that will not be in opposition is the William Haggas-trained German 2000 Guineas winner Maljoom, who was pulled out on Thursday due to a dirty scope.
With the pace likely to be strong, O’Brien added that he was keen to lie close to the front in the race, and also discussed a possible return to Australia for the Cox Plate in October.
“He’ll be ridden uncomplicated, whether he’s on the lead or taking a lead it comes easy to him so it’ll be lovely and straightforward,” O’Brien added.
“We’ll take it race by race with him but it would be great if that was something we decided to do [go back to Australia].
“We’ll see how this weekend goes and then chat to the ownership group and take it from there.”