Always Hopeful Posts Richmond Stakes Upset

Aidan O'Brien's exciting team of juveniles suffered a reversal for the second time in three days Friday when Amigoni finished out of the frame in the Sterling Insurance Richmond Stakes (Eng-II) at Goodwood.

His defeat followed that of Aussie Rules, like Amigoni one of a handful of promising looking Danehill colts at Ballydoyle, in the Veuve Cliquot Vintage Stakes (Eng-II) at Goodwood on Wednesday.

With Amigoni never looking that comfortable under Kieren Fallon, the race went to 12-1 shot Always Hopeful, who was kept handy throughout and quickened well to beat Upper Hand by 2 1/2 lengths. Always Hoperful, a son of the British sprinter Mind Games, kept up the impressive juvenile strike rate of his trainer Eoghan O'Neill, which stands at just over 25% in his first season with a retainer to owner John Fretwell.

"He's always looked a very, very good horse, he's just been a bit difficult to train," said O'Neill. "He's starting to get it together now and we'll run him next in the Prix Morny (Fr-I) at Deauville, where he should get his ground (not too firm). He will be up against a good filly in New Girlfriend (recent winner of the Prix Robert Papin, Fr-II), who is trained by my old boss Robert Collet. But that's what racing is all about."

Despite those two reversals, and the defeat of Alexandrova at Goodwood on Thursday, it would be too early to write off O'Brien's 2-year-olds. Ivan Denisovich and Horatio Nelson looked particularly promising at the Newmarket July meeting while connections have also insisted that there a number of talented unraced colts.