Stone Age on Saratoga duty for O’Brien but Appleby says his ace ‘is one to beat’ | Horse Racing News

Alan Crowhurst (Getty Images)

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Stone Age: Derby trip may have proved too far

Stone Age: Derby trip may have proved too far

Alan Crowhurst (Getty Images)

By James Burn

Saturday: 11.20pm Saratoga
Caesars Saratoga Derby Invitational Stakes (Grade 1) | 1m1½f | 3yo | SKY

State Of Rest got Joseph O’Brien on the honors board in the Caesars Saratoga Derby Invitational Stakes last year and his father Aidan bids to emulate him on Saturday with one-time Derby hope Stone Age.

Successful in the Group 3 Derby trial at Leopardstown in May, Stone Age, who was placed at the highest level as a juvenile, headed to Epsom as Ballydoyle’s chief contender, but was an 11-length sixth behind Desert Crown.

More recently, he was a running-on third in the Belmont Derby Invitational and O’Brien said: “He was drawn wide at Belmont and that probably meant he got shuffled back a bit, but it looked like he came home very well.

“We were happy with him and how he kept going. We had dropped him back to a mile and a quarter last time after feeling he could have found the Derby trip at Epsom too far.”

Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)

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Nations Pride: Charlie Appleby is represented by the three-year-old

Nations Pride: Charlie Appleby is represented by the three-year-old

Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)

The 1m1½f event boasts prize-money of $1 million and is another chance for Godolphin’s Nations Pride, eighth in the Derby and second at Belmont Park, to renew rivalry with Stone Age.

Trainer Charlie Appleby is optimistic and said: “Nations Pride ran a very creditable race in the Belmont Derby and has done well since.

“The team out in America have been pleased with his preparation and he has a nice draw in stall four. A repeat performance of his last run should hopefully make him the one to beat.”

Highclere’s Royal Patronage, who beat just one home in the Derby when trained by Charlie and Mark Johnston, has his first start for Graham Motion, while Annapolis is a leading contender for Todd Pletcher, whose top dirt performer Life Is Good is expected to be hard to deny in the Grade 1 Whitney Stakes (10.43pm) on Saratoga’s card.


Catch our in-depth review of the weekend’s racing every Monday in the Racing Post. With big-race analysis from Classic-winning jockey George Baker, Chris Cook’s take on the weekend action, eyecatchers from the Raceform team, weekly awards and much more, it is not to be missed.


FIRST PUBLISHED 7:00AM, AUG 6 2022

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