Battleground does his dam proud with impressive Chesham success

Battleground (11/4 Fav) was the comfortable winner of the Listed Chesham Stakes, lengthening impressively in the final furlong to take the seven-furlong contest by two and a half lengths from March Law (18/1).

Sired by War Front, the two-year-old colt Battleground is the first foal of 2016 G1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe heroine Found.

Trainer Aidan O’Brien said: “Battleground ran at Naas, finished a good fifth and Wayne Lordan loved him. We are delighted to win today.

“He had a good clear run at Naas, there was no hard luck story but he learnt a lot from it. He is out of Found so you would have hoped he would stay further really.

“We were worried about the ground. Battleground is by War Front, but Found handled soft ground when she won the Breeders’ Cup Turf [2015].

“Battleground is an exciting horse – he could be anything. He could be one for the July Meeting or the National Stakes. I would imagine he would stay well and probably a mile will be his trip. Found got a mile and a half, but he is by War Front and that is a big influence for speed.

“We are hoping that he could progress into a very good miler. Found was an unbelievable, magic mare. She was one of the very special ones and everyone remembers her. Obviously, this is her first foal and everyone wants to do well. Battleground is an unbelievable specimen really.

“It was a big ask for our two-year-olds as most of them only run last week. We needed to get a run into him otherwise it was going to be difficult to get into the race as they would have been fourth or fifth preference. We were lucky in this race that it was not a full field and he finished fifth on his debut.

“Obviously, some two-year-olds have disappointed this week, but they are entitled to.”

Reflecting on the second-placed efforts of Monarch Of Egypt [G3 Jersey Stakes] & Sir Dragonet [Listed Wolferton Stakes] earlier on the card, the master of Ballydoyle continued: “Both ran well. Sir Dragonet ran a great race and came home very well, but the winner handled the ground well. Monarch Of Egypt also ran a great race and the winner in that race also handled the ground well.”

O’Brien also discussed the performances of some of his squad yesterday which included Russian Emperor landing the G3 Hampton Court Stakes, hot favourite Japan finishing fourth in the G1 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes and Mogul filling the same spot in the G2 King Edward VII Stakes on Tuesday.

Providing an update, he continued: “Russian Emperor won first time this season and then he finished second at Leopardstown in the Derrinstown. It was a big run yesterday – he gets a mile and a quarter and I think he will get a bit further. We will see what the lads want to do, but he will have a choice of either the Epsom, French or Irish Derby. We will see how he is over the next few days.

“Japan ran a good race, he was a little slow away. It was his first run of the season and they went a good, strong gallop. We had him ready to run, but we were conscious that we obviously didn’t want to have him too wound up as the season is very long. Obviously, when Japan was slow away in that ground, it probably just caught him out a little bit.

“We feel like Japan will really come forward from that run and we look forward to the next day with him.

“We are thinking of the Derby for Mogul. We were struggling with him as we wanted to get two runs into him before the Derby, but obviously we didn’t have the time and that is just the way it was. That is why we came to Ascot with him, we thought a mile and a half would be tougher there than a mile and a quarter at Leopardstown. We wanted to get a good run into him and get him tired, so it will be interesting to see what he does between now and the Derby – there is every chance he will progress between now and the Derby. We had to run him and we had to take the chance of him getting tired. What we are trying to do is put one run into two runs if you know what I mean.”

John Waterworth, who owns the Chesham Stakes runner-up March Law in partnership with his wife Susan, said: “Tremendous, fabulous – I am really pleased with that. He has a Book 1 pedigree though, we think he has a lot of time to develop and think he will get better as the season goes on.”

As a Newcastle United fan, Waterworth joked: “Black and white still can’t win!”

3.00pm Chesham Stakes (Listed)

1 Battleground [6] Aidan O’Brien 2-9-03 Ryan Moore 11/4 Fav

2 March Law [8] Mark Johnston 2-9-03 Silvestre De Sousa 18/1

3 Seattle Rock [14] Sylvester Kirk 2-8-12 David Egan 80/1

73rd Royal Ascot win for trainer Aidan O’Brien

61st Royal Ascot win for jockey Ryan Moore

8 ran

Non-Runner: 8 Concessions (Self Certificate, Going)

Time: 1m 30.62s

Distances: 2½, 1¾

Click here for an audio interview with Aidan O’Brien:

http://www.lloydbell.co.uk/access2/index.php?a=UmFjZW5ld3M=&b=31580