GROUP winning Big Brown colt Darwin (USA) heads a strong Ballydoyle line-up in the G.3 KPMG Kilternan Stakes (2000m) at Leopardstown this Saturday.
The expensive import is one of several five-day entries from trainer Aidan O’Brien who has dominated the Kilternan Stakes since Acropolis scored in 2004. He was followed by Frost Giant (2006), The Bogberry (2008), Poet (2009) and Await the Dawn (2010).
Darwin (3c Big Brown – Cool Ghoul by Silver Ghost) was nominated for the G1 Irish Champion Stakes over the same course and distance this Saturday, however, Ballydoyle has taken an easier option for the up-and-comer.
“He’s an unbelievable cruiser but is still a big baby,” O’Brien said. “We were thinking of going across to Deauville last month but decided to give him more time and stay closer to home.”
O’Brien also has the luxury of picking and choosing with his Group 1 team. He was already mob-handed for the Champion Stakes with Camelot (2012 English Derby), Ruler Of The World (2013 English Derby), Declaration of War (2013 Juddmonte International), Kingsbarns (2012 Racing Post Trophy), Magician (2013 Irish 2000 Guineas) and pacemaker Triumphant who was runner-up Camelot last time in the G3 Mooresbridge Stakes.
Darwin is a son of Vinery shuttler Big Brown and first hit the headlines after making $1.30 million at the 2012 Fasig-Tipton Florida 2YO Sale. He was a maiden winner on debut in New York last October before transferring to Ireland where he graduated to a Group 3 victory in the Minstrel Stakes at the Curragh in July.
Big Brown’s winner-count is mounting week-by-week with 40 individual winners from his first-crop. They have won 66 races at an astronomical strike-rate of 67%.
Big Brown captured the 2008 Kentucky Derby – Preakness Stakes double and is standing this season for a $22,000 (inc gst) fee at Vinery