Lordan can help classy Azores make amends
Wayne Lordan takes over on Azores at Gowran Park tonight as the David Wachman-trained filly bids to make amends for a last-gasp defeat when heavily backed on her debut at Cork last month.
Partnered by Billy Lee then, Azores looked to have the race in the bag inside the final furlong, only to be caught on the line by her lesser-fancied stablemate Sapphire Pendant. Having led from over two furlongs out, Lee's mount had been in front long enough, given that it was her first racecourse outing.
Nonetheless, the winner has since shown the form up in a good light by finishing second in the 1,000 Guineas trial at Leopardstown on Sunday, so Azores should have the class to take this evening's concluding Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies' Maiden.
Proceedings get underway at the Co Kilkenny venue, where the going is officially described as good to yielding, with a disappointing turnout of three for a €10,350 contest over 12 furlongs. Notable Graduate, a horse that Dermot Weld spoke of as Irish Derby material after it got off the mark at Tipperary a month ago, has clearly scared off most of the original 10 entries.
A half-brother to Refuse To Bend and Media Puzzle, Pat Smullen's partner is bred for the game, and made a fair impression at Tipperary. While Last Crusade, successful at Dundalk in December, also has potential, Notable Graduate is the one to beat.
Lordan can get his day off on the right foot when he teams up with Tommy Stack's London Plane in the seven-furlong maiden. Although there are a few in this with placed form, the filly London Plane made a hugely promising debut when third behind Asheerah and Dance Secretary in a decent race at Limerick in April.
Lordan might also take the subsequent handicap on Painted Fingers, which looked as though she would come on for the run when fifth at the track on her reappearance.
Across the water, all eyes will be on the sole Irish raider at York as Aidan O'Brien seeks to enhance his Epsom Derby hand with Seville in the Totesport Dante Stakes.
Strangely, Seville has been a strong 7/4 favourite for the esteemed Epsom trial, with World Domination and Carlton House trading at 2/1 and 9/4, respectively. For Epsom, Seville, due to be partnered here by Christophe Soumillon, is the outsider of the three at 7/1, with Carlton House the outright favourite at 9/2.
An easy maiden winner at Tipperary before finishing second to Casamento at Doncaster last year, Seville could be very good. But Henry Cecil only ever tends to have one Derby horse and he always knows exactly what it is, so it may be unwise to underestimate World Domination after a fine display at Newbury in April.