September 24, 2023

Mount Everest odds-on to extend O’Brien stranglehold on Beresford

European Road to the Kentucky Derby

Sunday’s Beresford (G2) at Naas is a scoring race on the European Road to the Kentucky Derby, but for Aidan O’Brien, it’s a pet spot to showcase prospects for next spring’s turf classics. The Irish maestro has trained an incredible 17 Beresford winners, the last seven in a row, and Mount Everest is the odds-on favorite to raise the tally to eight straight and 18 overall.

Bred by the Niarchos Family, which races him in partnership with the Coolmore principals, Mount Everest is by supersire Galileo and out of 2003 Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) champion Six Perfections, from the further family of the legendary Miesque. Thus the promising juvenile is a full brother to Group 3 scorer Yucatan, runner-up in the 2016 Beresford, and Grade 3 vixen Faufiler, as well as a half-brother to French Group 2 winner Planet Five (by Storm Cat).

As a May 3 foal, Mount Everest could have been expected to take a while to get the hang of things. He was sixth, under considerate handling, on his July 1 debut at the Curragh, and second at odds-on at Cork August 11. But third time out, he was ready to assert back at the Curragh over this mile distance.

If Mount Everest obliges with Ryan Moore, he’ll join O’Brien’s Beresford honor roll that includes St Nicholas Abbey (2009) and Saxon Warrior (2017). Both went on to add the Racing Post Trophy, now rebranded the Vertem Futurity Trophy (G1), and Mount Everest is himself engaged in the October 27 prize at Doncaster. His entry in the 2019 Derby (G1) at Epsom, however, is presumably the ultimate aim.

O’Brien is triple-handed in the Beresford with Sovereign and Japan, also by Galileo, completing his posse. Sovereign, the mount of the trainer’s son Donnacha, took three tries to break his maiden but got the job done in a 14-length demolition job at Galway. Although that came on heavy going, and he was previously sixth behind Mount Everest, Sovereign is clearly on the upgrade. Japan, a 1.3 million-guinea full brother to Secret Gesture and the less accomplished Sir Isaac Newton, improved from a debut seventh to score in a heavy-ground maiden at Listowel. Seamie Heffernan picks up the mount from Donnacha, likely a signal regarding their pecking order at home.

The Ballydoyle brigade heads the market, leaving the Ger Lyons-trained Pythion as the fourth choice. The son of Olympic Glory, from the productive German family of Potemkin, dead-heated for the win in his sole start at Leopardstown in July. Scratched from the KPMG Champions Juvenile (G2) at the same track and trip on Irish Champions Weekend, the quick ground cited as the factor, he turns up here on going projected to be good.

Guaranteed could be a 20-1 overlay on the North American morning line as the only entrant with stakes experience. The Jim Bolger juvenile performed well in his first two starts, missing by a half-length before fighting determinedly to prevail, and his fifth to Anthony Van Dyck in a yielding Futurity (G2) was too bad to be true. It would be no surprise if the Teofilo colt bounces back on better ground. Power of Now boasts a course-and-distance maiden win in his third try for Michael O’Callaghan, but Adrian Keatley’s Mackqeez must progress off a fifth in his unveiling at Down Royal.

Anchoring a stakes program that includes the Weld Park (G3), Loughbrown (G3), and Renaissance (G3), the Beresford is scheduled to go off at 12:05 p.m. (EDT).