O’Brien coy on Phoenix Stakes contenders

Aidan O’Brien is keeping his feet firmly on the ground over his chances of winning a 17th Keeneland Phoenix Stakes on Friday night – despite having three of the five entries for the Group 1 race.

The Ballydoyle handler has dominated the Curragh feature since 1998 and has been responsible for 50% of the first three home in that time.

However, for once O’Brien doesn’t have the favourite in his camp, with Colin Keane’s unbeaten Siskin the 10/11 favourite with Betfred.

O’Brien’s trio follow behind in the ante-post betting. with Monarch Of Egypt, Royal Lytham and Mount Fuji all bidding to topple Siskin.

Ryan Moore rides Monarch Of Egypt, who is 11/10 to reverse the order of the Irish Derby at the Curragh when second to Siskin.

The son of American Pharoah had previously impressed when winning on debut at Naas and O’Brien says he’s “happy” with how his preparations have gone.

Meanwhile, Royal Lytham is priced at 7/1 with Betfred even after a strong performance to win the July Stakes at Newmarket last month.

Discussing the mount of his son Donnacha, O’Brien told the Racing Post: “Royal Lytham won nicely at Newmarket and we haven’t done much with him since, but he seems well.”

Mount Fuji is the 50/1 outsider of O’Brien’s trio, having struggled to build on the form shown when winning at Cork, failing to make the top four in his subsequent outings.

“Mount Fuji was green when winning first time out at Cork, but picked up experience at Ascot and we thought he came forward again since at the Curragh,” O’Brien added.

O’Brien went on to add he was unsure how the forecast heavy rain would affect his trio’s chances.

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