24 March 2023

Cairo taking Mendelssohn route to possible Kentucky challenge

24 March 2023

Should Aidan O’Brien’s Cairo emulate Mendelssohn in winning the UAE Derby on Saturday, Kentucky could be his next port of call.

Mendelssohn absolutely destroyed the field in 2018, winning by 18 and a half lengths, showing the dirt surface to be no problem, yet his experience in the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs was not a happy one.

Bumped on leaving the stalls, and again soon after, his race was effectively over after a furlong and he trailed in last of 20 behind Justify, who would go on to lift the Triple Crown.

O’Brien has not been put off, however, and given Cairo won the same Listed race at Dundalk prior to the UAE Derby, the Ballydoyle handler is treading a familiar path.

“Cairo is a powerful-looking horse. We’ve been very happy with him through the winter and we were very happy with him when he won at Dundalk,” said O’Brien.

“Obviously, he’s going over a bit further than he has run before and of course it’s a different surface, but we’re happy with him and Pat (Keating, travelling head lad) has been very happy with him since he’s been out there. We’re hopeful.

“Mendelssohn was by Scat Daddy, this horse is by Quality Road and some of his do go on the dirt I suppose.

“Of course there’s a chance he could go to the Kentucky Derby after this, but we’d have to see how he runs. There’s a good chance, we’ll just see what happens first.”

O’Brien also runs two well-established Ballydoyle inmates. Broome steps up for just a second crack at two miles in the Dubai Gold Cup while Order Of Australia runs in the Dubai Turf having won in Qatar last time out.

“We think the trip might suit Broome, we think the good ground might suit him and he had a good run the last day in Qatar when he last ran,” said O’Brien.

“We think and hope that he should run a good race.

“Order Of Australia won his last start in Qatar and he’s in good form.

“Obviously this is a furlong longer, but we’re very happy with him and hopefully he’ll run well.

“He’s done lots of travelling, he loves it and is very professional.”

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