O'Brien seeking Imperial rule
Aidan O'Brien's Imperial Monarch reappears in the Canadian International at Woodbine on Sunday.
The Galileo colt has won three of his four starts, including the Grand Prix de Paris, but he has sat on the sidelines since July as his stablemates have contested a host of top European races.
Instead, he heads over to North America for a race the Europeans have a good record in - and which O'Brien won with Joshua Tree two years ago and Ballingarry in 2002 - where he will be ridden by Ryan Moore.
"I think he's had so little racing that he's still learning (about a preferred racing style). The last time, he made the running. It didn't bother him," said T.J. Comerford, assistant trainer to O'Brien, told www.woodbineentertainment.com.
"He's got a great temperament. I just hope we see him at his best on Sunday. He's been off for three months but at the same time, we're getting him here thinking we've got him spot-on.
"He's got loads of ability. It depends on how competitive a race it is.
"Whatever Aidan decides is the style he'll use. Aidan will talk to Ryan about it and decide what to do (from stall 10). Ryan Moore is a top-class rider - that's why Aidan likes him.
"Aidan likes this horse. He's very lightly raced but we might be a lot wiser after. He's a good horse."
Joshua Tree is now with Marco Botti and finished second for the Italian in this 12 months ago, so he will be making his third appearance in the race.
He was last seen finishing not far behind the Japanese Triple Crown winner Orfevre in the Prix Foy.
"In the Prix Foy I thought he was in very good form," said Botti.
"He seems to be coming into his best recently. I haven't trained many horses as tough as he is.
"He loves the travelling. You put him on a plane and he seems to enjoy it."
Michael Bell's Wigmore Hall is another who seems to thrive for getting on a plane.
He was last seen winning the Northern Dancer Turf Stakes at Woodbine for the second successive year.
"This (the International) will obviously be a better race," said Bell.
"But I think the environment there really suits him. He's also been given two really blinding rides by Jamie Spencer. We'll see how he gets on when upped in class."
Alain de Royer-Dupre's Reliable Man will be ridden by Olivier Peslier, James Fanshawe is sending over Dandino, while Andrew Balding has runs his decent filly Lay Time in the International rather than the EP Taylor Stakes.
"We've always liked her, but I don't feel she has reached her full potential as of yet," said Balding, who won this in 2003 with Phoenix Reach.
"She has performed extremely well in her past two starts and I believe she has the ability to be even better.
"The one thing that you tend to think about when it comes to fillies is how they'll fare in the fall.
"Your hope is that they'll thrive and not be over the top at this time of the year. She travelled well to Woodbine and seems to be doing quite well in her new surroundings. With a bit of luck, hopefully, we have a big day on Sunday."
Francois Doumen's Siyouma is the headline act in the EP Taylor having won the Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket.
She will not have it all her own way, though, up against Dermot Weld's Ribblesdale winner Princess Highway and Richard Fahey's Barefoot Lady.
Balding's Night Carnation and David Wachman's Fire Lily represent the raiding party in the Nearctic Stakes over six furlongs.
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