Blackbeard strikes for O'Brien at Newmarket

A second successive Group 1 victory for the two-year-old following success in France

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Blackbeard streaks clear under Ryan Moore in the Middle Park Stakes

Aidan O’Brien is eyeing up a potential trip across the Atlantic for Blackbeard after his star two-year-old led a Ballydoyle one-two in the Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket, writes Paul Martin.

The son of No Nay Never, with Ryan Moore on board, reeled in Persian Force and held off the charge of stablemate The Antarctic to land his second straight Group 1 victory having been successful in the Prix Morny last time out.

A trip further overseas could be next on the agenda for Blackbeard, whose enthusiasm was hailed by his trainer as he continues to take every challenge in his stride.

“He’s very progressive, he has been since day one,” O’Brien said.

“He often has to make his own running as they don’t go quick enough for him but there was a good pace today and Ryan could sit in on him.

"America is a definite possibility but he has done plenty. We’ll take him home and see how he feels.

“We’ve dragged him all over the country, all over Europe, and he comes out full of energy every time.

“We always thought five-six [furlongs] was his trip but today he was getting up well. Speed is his thing, he’s always been fast and precocious.”

O’Brien also provided a positive update on Blackbeard’s half-brother Little Big Bear, beaten just once in five outings as a two-year-old and last seen winning the Group 1 Keeneland Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh in early August.

“Little Big Bear is one to look forward to for next year,” he said. “He’s by No Nay Never but there is plenty of stamina in his pedigree.

“Little Big Bear will get to seven furlongs and he’s one we’re thinking about for the Guineas next year. He’s got a great chance. 

“His season finished early, which is always a big help for a horse. We’re looking forward to seeing him next year.”

America is a definite possibility but he has done plenty. We’ll take him home and see how he feels.

- Aidan O'Brien

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