Kingsbarns returns at Leopardstown
Published 01/04/2014 | 13:17
Aidan O'Brien will be hoping Kingsbarns, his representative in the Heritage Stakes at Leopardstown on Wednesday, enjoys as much subsequent success as last season's winner.
The Ballydoyle handler sent out Declaration Of War in the Listed race 12 months ago who, unbelievable as it seems now, was not even sent off favourite.
He had no trouble in beating Bold Thady Quill, who runs again this year, and went on to win the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot and the Juddmonte International at York before finishing third in the Breeders' Cup Classic.
Kingsbarns has a slightly different profile having won the Racing Post Trophy as a juvenile, but he was then not seen until September last season, when tailed off in the Irish Champion Stakes.
There was plenty of promise on his next start, though, when third of 12 in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.
The fact he remains in training suggests O'Brien feels Kingsbarns is capable of winning some big races this season.
Jim Bolger's Light Heavy is another who showed smart form in the past but has questions to answer.
Winner of the Ballysax and Derrinstown Derby trials in 2012, he was third to Camelot in the Irish Derby that season.
He ran with credit behind Snow Fairy in the Irish Champion Stakes and went to Dubai last winter, where he failed to cut much ice, and has not been seen since.
Bold Thady Quill has already proved his well-being this term, having finished fourth in the Irish Lincoln under a big weight, but his trainer Ken Condon is fully aware of the task ahead of him.
"He was second in this last year but we've another of Aidan's to contend with now," said Condon.
"Kingsbarns is rated 117 and they've always thought a lot of him.
"Our lad is good this time of year and handles soft ground. There's also rain forecast which would be in his favour. He'll give a good account of himself, we know what he is and so does everyone else.
"We were delighted with him at the Curragh, it was some effort off 100. Kingsbarns is that far ahead (on ratings) he wouldn't have to be near 100 per cent fit, though, you'd have thought."