Aidan O'Brien Gold Cup hope Kyprios out to boost his Royal Ascot credentials

Friday: 7.30 Leopardstown
Saval Beg Levmoss Stakes (Group 3) | 4yo+ | 1m6f | RTV

This is a contest that Aidan O’Brien knows how to win. He has collected the prize six times since 2007, and each time he has used it as a stepping stone towards the Ascot Gold Cup, with Yeats, Fame And Glory and Order Of St George doing the double.

Vintage Crop, Media Puzzle and Vinnie Roe also feature on the illustrious roll of honour and O’Brien's sole representative this year Kyprios looks nailed on to join them.

The four-year-old son of Galileo advertised his staying credentials with an impressive display in the Vintage Crop Stakes at Navan, running away from dual Irish St Leger heroine Search For A Song to score by over two lengths.

The manner in which he put the race to bed suggested he is worthy of Gold Cup consideration and he was shortened into a general 6-1 for the Ascot showpiece.

Kyprios faces four rivals, with Sunchart the closest to the favourite on the ratings, albeit 12lb inferior to the Ballydoyle colt. 

The son of Teofilo was perhaps below his best when sixth in the Vintage Crop, but his seasonal reappearance when just pipped by Wordsworth at Gowran Park was a respectable effort. He set the tempo in that contest, and the pace angle looks sure to come from him.

Trainer Andrew Slattery is doubly represented, with Pineapple Express bidding to become the first mare to win this since Missunited in 2014.

Phoenix Cowboy ran out of steam on his first start for 173 days in that Gowran race. That was nonetheless a solid turn against higher-rated rivals in Wordsworth and the re-opposing Sunchart, and the Ger Lyons-trained gelding is sure to come on for the outing. 

The line-up is completed by Agitare, who tackles this trip for a first time and represents Jim Bolger and Kevin Manning after being beaten four lengths by Layfayette in a Curragh Group 3 over 10f last month. It will be interesting to see how he fares in this very different contest.

What they say
Aidan O’Brien, trainer of Kyprios
Everything has gone well since Navan. We’re thinking of the Gold Cup, but we’ll take one race at a time. He’s in the Coronation Cup as well, but we’ve had our eye on the Gold Cup with him and he’s been very well since the last day.

Colin Keane, rider of Phoenix Cowboy
He probably outran his rating at Gowran. It was his seasonal debut and he would have needed the run and should come on for that. It’s a stiffer task but he should give a good account of himself. 

Andrew Slattery, trainer of Sunchart and Pineapple Express
Sunchart was unlucky at Gowran. I think he might have bounced at Navan, I don’t think that was his true run. He’s in good form, we’d have hoped for a little more juice in the ground but in such a small field you have to take your chance. Pineapple Express got some nice black type at Cork. She’d want a little juice in the ground too.