'We're really looking forward to getting him there' – O'Brien excited by Kyprios Gold Cup bid

Aidan O'Brien is 'looking forward' to unleashing his champion stayer Kyprios in this year's Ascot Gold Cup.

KYPRIOS winning the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot in England.
KYPRIOS winning the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot in England. Picture: Pat Healy Photography

Kyprios dominated the staying division in 2022, winning the Ascot Gold Cup before victories in the Goodwood Cup and Irish Leger were followed by a remarkable 20-length romp in the Prix du Cadran at Longchamp.

However, his 2022 campaign was far from straightforward and after a career-suffering injury, Aidan O'Brien's staying star had to settle for the runner-up spot in both Irish Leger and Ascot's Long Distance Cup.

It remains to be seen whether Kyprios can scale the heights he did two years ago, but back-to-back victories at Navan and Leopardstown this season have seen the now six-year-old jump to the top of the market for the Ascot Gold Cup next week, for which he now as short as 4/5 with Paddy Power.

"He went through a horrendous year the year before and we were very lucky to get him back racing last year, we didn't think we would ever get him racing but he ran two very good races," O'Brien explained on Sky Sports Racing.

"He's had a great winter and a great spring, and everyone is very happy with him at the moment. His first two runs were lovely, so we're really looking forward to getting him there.

"He was always the same horse at home from the time he was a two-year-old – he was all very laid-back, he travels and when he goes there (the front) he doesn't do much, he always did that.

"We feel the Gold Cup is a very special race, it's a very unique race. Most horses with a staying pedigree would get nearly two miles, but when you go past that it goes into an unbelievably different territory altogether and very few really get it that well.

"We always think when you have stayers with class it's a big help, but it's a difficult race to win and a very difficult race to find a horse for every year."

A day before Kyprios attempts to regain his Gold Cup crown, Auguste Rodin will take centre stage for team Ballydoyle with the dual Derby hero bidding to regain the winning thread after his heavy defeat in the Dubai Sheema Classic in Meydan was followed by a second-place finish to White Birch in the Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh. 

With Sir Michael Stoute's Passenger ruled out from the Wednesday showpiece due to an infection, Auguste Rodin now tops the betting as a general 13/8 chance and O'Brien is confident his four-year-old can put up a bold performance despite being beaten last-time-out.

He said: "He worked this morning and worked very well and with his two runs this year he was always working towards the Prince of Wales's," he added.

"We were very happy with him the last day, the ground went a little bit soft, and he had a bit of a wobble coming down the hill, but we were very happy and were using that race as a kind of stepping-stone on the way to Ascot.

"We tactically didn't take the right decision in Dubai – we decided to drop in and take our time, then they only hacked and if you weren't handy, you never got into it. Ryan (Moore) accepted it very early, which was the right thing because he knew he had no chance, but he came out of the race very well and we were very happy with his Curragh run other than he didn't win."

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