Racing: O'Brien ready to revive European assault on Kentucky

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The Independent Online

With his European lines apparently secure, Aidan O'Brien has opened up a new front by entering three colts for the Kentucky Derby. The Ballydoyle trainer has such heavy artillery pointing at the 2,000 Guineas, in George Washington and Horatio Nelson, that he is considering a trip to Louisville the same day for three "sleepers" among the juvenile élite of 2005. Art Museum, Frost Giant and Hurricane Cat all finished their first season strongly, and all have pedigrees that entitle them to further progress on dirt.

Hurricane Cat proved a fast learner in the autumn, winning the Horris Hill Stakes at Newbury barely three weeks after his debut. His dam, Sky Beauty, was a champion racemare in the United States. Art Museum, another son of Storm Cat, made such an impression winning both starts at the Curragh in September that he was declared for the Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket, only to be withdrawn on the day with a stone bruise. Frost Giant, a son of Giant's Causeway, made a promising debut at Doncaster in October before winning a Group race in an excellent time at Leopardstown, just 10 days later.

There have been no overseas runners in the Kentucky Derby since 2002, when O'Brien ran Johannesburg and Castle Gandolfo, but there is an air of purpose to the foreign entries this year. Clive Brittain hopes that Well Armed can use the Dubai Carnival as a springboard to Louisville, while Eoghan O'Neill is preparing Silent Times for one of the big American trials next month. Godolphin's five entries are headed by Discreet Cat, an expensive purchase in the United States last autumn.