LEADING Yorkshire trainer David O’Meara has rejected speculation that he is poised to succeed his hero Aidan O’Brien at the all-conquering Ballydoyle stables in Ireland.
O’Brien’s relationship with his secretive bosses John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith appears to have become strained this season, not least over the riding arrangements for their top thoroughbreds.
It is also widely known that O’Meara, one of the rising stars of the training ranks thanks to the success of Group One-winning horses like Amazing Maria, is looking to move from his current Nawton premises.
However he stressed: “I have never been approached by anyone at Coolmore regarding Ballydoyle. There is no substance to the rumour.”
In the meantime, the focus switches to the Westwood on Saturday when Ridge Ranger will attempt to become the first filly since Look Busy in 2008 to win the Totepool Beverley Bullet – the highlight of a £136,000 card.
Trainer Eric Alston will be stepping the four-year-old daughter of Bushranger into Listed class after she defeated a strong field in a five-furlong sprint at Goodwood towards the end of July.
Alston, who was responsible for Nunthorpe and Haydock Sprint Cup winner Reverence, said: “She’ll not be as good as Reverence but she’s a nice filly and is getting there.
“We wouldn’t want the ground to be firm, but that doesn’t look like it’s going to happen. She’ll be fine if there’s any rain around, too. We dropped her back to five furlongs at Goodwood and it worked well. I thought that was a good little race. She only just gets home over six furlongs, but Beverley is a stiff five (furlongs) so we think the race will suit her nicely.”
In other news, the Breeders’ Cup in the USA has emerged as a possibility for Mark Johnston’s two-year-old Buratino after the Royal Ascot winner was withdrawn from York’s Gimcrack Stakes last Saturday because of unsuitable ground.
The Middleham trainer says the horse won’t run unless the going is “fast”, a statement which could rule out most targets in Britain and Ireland.