Aidan O'Brien said on a national teleconference this afternoon that plans to ship to Belmont Park early next week are still on go. O'Brien will be arriving next Tuesday with one of the most powerful European contingents in Breeders' Cup history. The Ballydoyle trainer has Galileo and Black Minnaloushe for the Classic, Milan for the Turf, Bach for the Mile, Mozart for the Sprint, Johannesburg for the Juvenile, and Sophisticat for the Juvenile Fillies.
As to a published report that there was a chance the horses from Ireland's vast Coolmore operation might not come if terrorist activities increased, O'Brien said, "If everything continues to go as planned, we'll be there. I don't know of anything that would prevent us from coming. We've been happy with the way they've all been working, and our plans are the same as they've always been."
O'Brien and Godolphin racing manager Simon Crisford both said that security will pretty much be the same as always. "Wherever we travel around the world, we take security personnel, and this time will be no different," Crisford said. Godolphin is owned by the Maktoum family, which rules the Arabian Gulf nation of Dubai.
While O'Brien's horses are set for their respective races, no decision will be made regarding the Classic status of Godolphin's Fantastic Light and Sakhee until next Wednesday when entries are taken.
"I wouldn't think both horses would run in the same race, but it's not out of the question," Crisford said. "Fantastic Light is owned by Sheikh Maktoum and Sakhee is owned by Sheikh Hamdan, so we'll have to wait to see how they feel about it. There isn't a lot left to prove on the grass, and running in the Classic is very attractive, but Sakhee has had virtually no training on the dirt. That's why we want to see how he and Fantastic Light work over it before deciding. If they did both run in the Classic it would be great for horse racing, but not necessarily great for Godolphin."
O'Brien is in the same boat with Galileo, although the son of Sadler's Wells has worked over the all-weather track at Southwell. "Obviously, we're not sure how he'll handle it," he said. "All we know is that he has great tactical speed, he stays on well, and he battles at the end. If he travels well and recovers from the flight, he should be very competitive. That's all we can hope for."