By Nicholas Godfrey
USA: Irish Derby winner Sovereign will make his US debut for new trainer Chad Brown in the G1 Man o’War Stakes (10.44pm BST) on a stakes-laden card at Belmont Park on Saturday [May 8].
Still owned by the Coolmore partnership, the five-year-old son of Galileo hasn’t won since his six-length victory over Epsom winner Anthony Van Dyck at The Curragh in June 2019. He made his last appearance for Aidan O’Brien when a close third in the Bahrain International in November.
“We received him over the winter at Payson Park and he’s settled into a nice work pattern,” said Brown, speaking to the NYRA media team.
“He came over very sound, and in great shape from Aidan. He sure trains like a horse with a lot of quality. I’ve seen him train on firm ground in Florida and he’s fine with it. He can handle some cut in the ground.”
Irad Ortiz has the mount on Sovereign in the $700,000 contest, in which he breaks from the inside post against seven rivals.
Brown suggested Sovereign may be forwardly placed as he makes his US bow. “I’m not trying to reinvent the wheel with him, so if he has speed, I wouldn’t take that away from him,” said the trainer.
“He’s pretty forward in his breezes. He grabs the bit and goes on. If he breaks well and Irad wants to put him on the front, I would be happy with that.”
His opponents are headed by Gufo, who won the G1 Belmont Derby for trainer Christophe Clement on his most recent outing at the New York venue. The four-year-old gives 6lb to Sovereign.
• Visit the NYRA Belmont Park website