Don't miss the latest Irish Eyes column ahead of today's high-class action at Leopardstown, featuring the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial Stakes.
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Leopardstown host a very competitive and informative meeting this afternoon featuring three Group races, the highlight of which is undoubtedly the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial.
A rich source of Epsom Derby winners for many years, the Leopardstown Derby trials haven’t been as successful in recent years until Harzand came along last term to win last year’s Ballysax prior to following up at Epsom and The Curragh.
Capri made an excellent reappearance in last month’s Ballysax when, attempting to give weight away all round, he ran an excellent fourth.
He would have almost certainly been the choice of Seamie Heffernan today were it not for the fact that he is unproven on the good-to-firm going. Consequently, Yucatan, who finished one place in front of Capri last time out, is Seamie’s chosen mount this afternoon on the basis that the Racing Post Trophy runner-up is already proven in top company on better ground. As a result, Yucatan shades favouritism over Capri but given that Capri is not unproven on the ground, he is probably the value option today at a best price of 9/4.
In the opening maiden, Sioux Nation will book his Royal Ascot spot should he win and this is fully expected today.
With Seamie Heffernan in the saddle, a run under his belt for experience and the best of the draw, it is unsurprising Sioux Nation has already been backed into 11/10 favourite but it will be very disappointing if he fails to get his head in front.
At Naas on debut, the yielding ground was definitely not ideal for a Scat Daddy out of an Oasis Dream mare but today’s good-to-firm ground is perfect.
O’Brien also supplies the favourites in the Group 3 Amethyst Stakes in the shape of Cougar Mountain and he does have the advantage of three runs under his belt this season but Jim Bolger’s Tribal Beat makes a lot more appeal as the class horse in the race, despite lacking race fitness.
He won his maiden on good-to-firm and beat Cougar Mountain here last year in the Desmond Stakes, albeit he was in receipt of the significant three-year-old 7lb allowance.
Today that allowance is reduced to 2lbs but the son of Street Cry looks to have physically improved over the winter and he should prove the horse to beat today. Currently trading at a best price of 11/4, Tribal Beat gets the nap vote this afternoon.
Belgravia runs in the concluding mile and a half maiden, a race that can traditionally throw up a Group horse.
He is a full-brother to Epsom Derby winner Ruler Of The World, a horse who did not win his maiden until April of his three-year-old career, and this is a family that progress as they get older. Belgravia looks well below his full-brother at this stage, with two defeats to his name already, but he is a horse who is only coming to himself and the step up to a mile-and-a-half might just come at the right time for a horse and the better ground today should help him too.
It is hoped he could make up into Great Voltigeur/St Leger horse in due course and he will need to go close to winning today to justify a tilt at those targets. He seems a fair each-way price at 5s.
Posted at 1050 at 07/05/17.