Mendelssohn heading stateside again as O'Brien targets Travers Stakes

Mendelssohn will be US-bound this week for the third time this year, after Aidan O’Brien said on Saturday the colt was an intended runner in the Grade 1 Travers Stakes at Saratoga next weekend.

“The plan is to send Mendelssohn for the Travers along with Seahenge once we are happy with them over the next couple of days," said O’Brien.

Winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Del Mar in November, Mendelssohn won the Grade 2 UAE Derby by 18 and a half lengths at Meydan in March before contesting the Kentucky Derby in May when, on a very sloppy track, he was hampered in the early stages and trailed in last of the 20 runners after being eased down when all hope had gone.

The son of Scat Daddy finished third in the Grade 3 Dwyer Stakes at Belmont on his most recent start early last month.

“We’re still looking at the Breeders’ Cup Classic for Mendelssohn, and the Travers will be his prep race for a return to Churchill Downs in November," added O’Brien.

Seahenge, another son of Scat Daddy, and winner of the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster last season, will also be making his third appearance in the US this year. On his most recent visit he finished two places behind Mendelssohn in the Dwyer.

The Travers field could include the likes of reigning juvenile male champion Good Magic, Grade 1 winner Catholic Boy and the ex-Jeremy Noseda-trained Gronkowski.

Chelmsford stages Arabian card on Sunday

Chelmsford plays host to an Arabian racing card on Sunday, featuring the £5,000 Wathba Stallions Handicap.

In-form trainer Adam Newey could hold the key to the race and recent Chepstow winner Vindetta looks to have a big chance under James Harding.

Stablemate Syrah Gris, along with Popsstar, Noble Athlete and Fatinah all finished behind Vindetta that day, and the danger may come from another from the Newey stable, Synergy, who was also a winner last time out at Chepstow in May.

The seven-race card starts at 2.05pm, and among the more familiar jockeys in action are Serena Brotherton, Simon Walker and Joanna Mason.

The Arabian Racing Organisation's operations manager Willie McFarland said: “The ARO is extremely grateful for the continued support of Lara Sawaya, Wathba Stallions and the HH Sheikh Mansoor Festival and also the Royal Cavalry of Oman; both sponsors have been very generous and offer huge support to UK Arabian racing.

"We looking forward to seeing a great day of Arabian racing at Chelmsford, a track that has offered immeasurable support to ARO throughout the season.”

Sizing shaping up nicely

Jockey Robbie Power reports 2017 Gold Cup winner Sizing John on track for a return to competitive action later in the year.

Power said in his BoyleSports blog that he was reunited with Sizing John on the gallops on Thursday and that he was in good condition having not been seen since his appearance at the Leopardstown Christmas meeting last year.  

“He was in great form when I rode out on him, he looks fantastic and was moving well," he said. "He’s come back in great shape and, while he’s just doing steady cantering at the moment, he got a good grip and put my shoulder up to a good test.

“I’d imagine we’d see him back at the track in November because there are plenty of opportunities at the likes of Navan or Down Royal. It won’t be before that. We’ll just take it one day at a time and see how his progress goes.”

Power, who is continuing his recovery from surgery on his shoulder, added: “I’m coming along great, I’ve been out riding for two weeks now and I actually schooled a couple at Jessica Harrington’s yard this morning.

"Everything is feeling good so I hope to start back at Sligo or Killarney next week.”

Death of Dunlop's ex-travelling head lad

Steve 'Bully' Collier, former travelling head lad to John Dunlop, has died at the age of 63 following a short illness. His funeral will take place on Wednesday, August 29 at 1.40pm at Worthing crematorium, and afterwards at Arundel football club. Everyone is welcome.

New Naas fixture

Following the abandonment of five races at Ballinrobe last Monday, Horse Racing Ireland has announced an additional evening meeting for Naas on Tuesday, September 4. Entries for the meeting will close by 12 noon on Thursday, August 30.