Aidan O'Brien: Santiago could be a future Gold Cup contender

Santiago was an impressive winner of Friday's Queen's Vase at the Royal meeting.
Santiago was an impressive winner of Friday's Queen's Vase at the Royal meeting.

Aidan O'Brien has revealed that he has high hopes for Friday's Queen's Vase winner Santiago, and suggested that he could make up into a contender for the Ascot Gold Cup next term. 

The three-year-old was a taking winner of the Group 2 event over a mile and six furlongs, which often serves as a key pointer for the St Leger at Doncaster. 

And O'Brien revealed that while final classic of the season was firmly on the three-year-old's radar this term, he could make up into a serious contender for the feature race of the Royal meeting next season, the Ascot Gold Cup

He said: "Santiago is a lovely, straightforward horse. He travels and stays well. He is a very easy horse to train and get fit - we are very happy.

"We thought he was going to be an ideal St Leger horse. We will give him another run in between.

"Santiago could be a Gold Cup horse next year, so we will keep that in our minds. He is a strong traveller and will get better from three to four."

Santiago shortened into 14/1 for next year's Epsom Derby after his success, and O'Brien added that he hadn't ruled out the possibility of sending him to Surrey next month; "We have plenty of horses in the Derbys - the Irish Derby will come too soon and we will think about Epsom. But I think we will take our time with him this year."

O'Brien added that he was satisfied with Anthony Van Dyck, who finished fifth in the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes earlier on Friday's card after suffering a troubled passage. 

He said: "We were pleased with Anthony Van Dyck. He was being kept in by Andrea Atzeni (on Defoe), but he hit the line very strong. It was a non-event for him really, but he ran a really good race.

"The plan was to come here and then have a look at the King George."

Meanwhile, O'Brien sends both Wichita and Arizona in Saturday's Group 1 St James's Palace Stakes over a mile, and he provided a positive update on the pair; "Both horses are good and seem to be well since the 2000 Guineas," he said.  

"They have done the same amount of work, they haven't done an awful lot, but seem to be well.

"You get away with some horses (running twice in quick succession) but most you don't. We didn't have much choice and our racing in Ireland only started last week so there was nothing we could do. We are delighted to have horses to run and you think their form will improve again once they have more time between races."

Royal Ascot Day Five
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