St Mark's Basilica breaks new ground for O'Brien in Prix du Jockey Club

The son of Siyouni completed the French 2000 Guineas/Derby double

Sunday, June 06, 2021

St Mark's Basilica made it a successful few days for Aidan O'Brien

Sometimes, the best things can come to those who wait, writes Bradley West.

Just 48 hours on from an historic Oaks win, Aidan O’Brien continued to do what he does best and rewrite the record books as he finally obtained a prize that had as yet eluded him - Qatar Prix du Jockey Club at Chantilly.

It came through pre-race favourite St Mark's Basilica, with the son of Siyouni continuing to impress as he won a third straight Group 1 prize by beating 66/1 shot Sealiway into second by one-and-three-quarter lengths.

It meant the three-year-old joined an elite group of horses to complete the French 2000 Guineas/Derby double.

Having started well, the winner shadowed leader Normandy Bridge and then decisively pushed a furlong from home to see off all his rivals, with Spanish jockey Ioritz Mendizabal in the saddle.

“We're delighted,” O’Brien said. “Ioritz gave him a brilliant ride. Ioritz is a great rider and rode for us in Deauville last year - and we were very impressed.

“He's a world-class rider, and we're so delighted to get him.

“We think he doesn't mind (any type of) ground. We were a little bit worried about the distance, because he's a horse with so much speed - (so) we weren't sure about that.

“But everybody was confident he would get the trip - (and) he has form with easy ground as well. We think he's very versatile really.

“He moves like a very good ground horse, but obviously he has worked on the soft ground - but it's just because the races he's run in have come up that way really.

“You would imagine with his action he should be more effective on good ground. He's a lovely-moving horse - he doesn't bend his knee much. He puts his legs straight out in front of him - that all suggests good ground should suit him better.”

The comprehensive success has now left O’Brien with plenty to mull over as a selection of high-profile races could all be targeted next.

“He has a lot of options, and obviously we'll wait and see how he is when he comes back and see where we go,” he added.

“The Eclipse, the Champion Stakes - all those types of races - would be very strong possibles for him.” 

The Eclipse, the Champion Stakes - all those types of races - would be very strong possibles for him.

- Aidan O'Brien

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