Sunday 30 April 2017

O'Brien sets sights on bigger strides for duo in Ballysax test

Damien McElroy

Out of luck with Don Carlos at Newmarket yesterday, champion trainer Aidan O'Brien, whose runners here are beginning to make an impact, has multiple entries for Sunday's Leopardstown meeting.

The featured PW McGrath Memorial Ballysax Stakes has always been one of the Ballydoyle handler's preferred early-season trials and this weekend's renewal of the Group Three contest is no different.

Those outstanding performers, Galileo in 2001 and High Chaparral 12 months later, were Ballysax Stakes winners for O'Brien before taking the spoils in the Epsom Derby, while Fame And Glory was runner-up last year at Epsom before progressing to win the Irish Derby.

Therefore, all eyes will be focused on the 110-rated Mikhail Glinka and stable companion At First Sight, which O'Brien has also nominated this week for the 10-furlong contest. At First Sight won a Gowran maiden on his second start last summer, while Mikhail Glinka's third and final outing last season saw the colt finish second in the Group One Criterium de Saint-Cloud.

The latter was also noted travelling quite well towards the end of a gallop with English 2,000 Guineas and Derby favourite St Nicholas Abbey after racing at the Curragh last month. "They are both well and ready to start off again. If the ground dries out through the week it should suit them," remarked O'Brien, who has no entry, however, for the preceding Heritage Stakes at Listed level.

Their year-older stablemate Rip Van Winkle, a dual Group One victor in 2009, has been given plenty of time to recover from his disappointing Breeders Cup Classic outing behind Zenyatta in California last autumn.

This exciting horse could take in the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury or wait for a choice of engagements at Royal Ascot and is already installed by Ladbrokes as 4/1 favourite for the Tattersalls Irish Champion Stakes.

At Newmarket yesterday, a major Derby rival to St Nicholas Abbey emerged when Coordinated Cut took the £250,000 Tattersalls Timeform Trophy. The colt was a springer in the Epsom market before he had even run as a two-year-old, but enthusiasm had been tempered when he finished second-last in the Racing Post Trophy.

The owner switched the colt from Peter Chapple-Hyam to Michael Bell this season and he looked to have been well prepared as Jamie Spencer overcame trouble in running to edge out Godophin's Ameer.

Mick Channon will send Music Show straight to the English 1,000 Guineas after her victory in the Nell Gwyn Stakes under Kieren Fallon.

The jockey had to pull the 6/1 chance out wide to challenge after the field bunched on the inner, and the daughter of Noverre forged down the outside and gamely held off Blue Maiden to score by half a length.

The Marcus Tregoning-trained Rumoush (7/2) showed her Oaks credentials by putting the Listed Blue Square Feilden Stakes to bed at the furlong pole.

Red Jazz had not been seen since finishing third to Arcano in the July Stakes but was clearly raring to go for the Bluesquare.com European Free Handicap.

Michael Hills made all the running in determined fashion aboard his father Barry's colt (11/2) and found an extra gear in the closing stages to contain Quadrille (100/30 favourite).

Irish Independent

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