Champion trainer Aidan O’Brien is on the verge of equalling the record for most Group or Grade One winners in a season and on Saturday he gets 11 cracks across five races and two continents at joining, and possibly surpassing, the mark of 25 set by late American horseman Bobby Frankel in 2003.
The Irishman has enjoyed a remarkable year, winning four of the five English classics – achieving the same feat in Ireland – eclipsing his previous best of 23 winners at the top level, which he did in both 2001 and 2008.
“It would be massive for everyone, but we don’t think about it as a long-term thing,” O’Brien said.
“We take every horse and each race at a time but it would be a massive achievement for everybody.
“There are hundreds of people in the team and it’s a big team effort. We’d be very honoured to do it.”
The Ballydoyle team saddles up favourite Johannes Vermeer in the Caulfield Cup, who caught the eye with a fast-finishing second in his Australian debut last week.
There is also a strong Hong Kong presence in the iconic 2,400m contest with Joao Moreira riding Wicklow Brave and Chad Schofield partnering Harlem.
At Ascot, O’Brien kicks off with three hopes in the British Champions Sprint Stakes in Caravaggio, Washington DC and Intelligence Cross before Hydrangea and Wild Irish Rose take part in the British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes.
In the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, he has Churchill, Lancaster Bomber and Sir John Lavery with Highland Reel and Cliffs Of Moher finishing the day off in the Champion Stakes.
The Jockey Club is simulcasting races from both meetings, with three coming from Caulfield and five being broad cast from Ascot.