Free Eagle out of Derby after setback
As the Classic trials roadshow heads to Newmarket today, there was bad news for Irish hopes last night after Dermot Weld revealed leading Derby fancy Free Eagle will not be seen out until the autumn due to a setback.
The highly regarded colt – which runs in the colours of the Moyglare Stud – had been as low as 10/1 third favourite for Epsom glory behind market leader Australia, which beat him comprehensively in a Leopardstown Group Three last September.
Despite that reversal, Free Eagle remained a popular Classic contender for Weld's in-form Rosewell House operation, with the Derrinstown Stud Derby trial on May 11 pencilled in for his comeback.
"Unfortunately Free Eagle has had a training setback and there won't be enough time to have him ready to run at Epsom or in the Irish Derby," the Curragh handler was reported as saying.
"He should be back in full training in early July to be prepared for an autumn campaign."
Ger Lyons makes the trip across the water with high hopes that his Obliterator can go close in the Feilden Stakes.
The son of Oratorio made a big impression when landing his sole start – a maiden at the Curragh over a mile – last season and this half-brother to Irish 1,000 Guineas victor Just The Judge looks a leading player in this nine-furlong contest.
Marginally preferred is the Richard Hannon-trained Barley Mow which proved a big disappointment on his seasonal comeback earlier this month.
Ryan Moore's mount finished a half-length second of three to Bow Creek in a conditions event, but that race was on Lingfield's all-weather surface and it is expected to show significant improvement for his return to turf.
The same trainer-jockey combination also hold a strong hand in the CSP European Free Handicap with Shifting Power. This Compton Place colt could easily turn out to be one of the top guns at the Hannon yard this season if he has improved from what was a very taking run at Newmarket in August.
A mere shake of the reins from Richard Hughes was enough as he strode clear of Treaty Of Paris, which was left trailing by six lengths, and a repeat performance can see him prove too strong for Mushir.
Finally, Charlie Appleby's Folk Melody can strike a winning chord in the Lanwades Stud Nell Gwyn Stakes.