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'Stone can carve out Derby spot

First Cornerstone will bid to book his place at Epsom when he makes his seasonal appearance in the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at Leopardstown next Sunday.

The colt, trained by Andrew Oliver, is reported to be ready to begin a three-year-old campaign which connections hope will lead to the Investec Derby on June 1.

The son of Hurricane Run was a smart juvenile, winning at Listed and Group Two level before finishing a creditable fourth to Kingsbarns in the Racing Post Trophy.

First Cornerstone is said to have thrived over the winter and has had two racecourse gallops recently before his intended return to action in the Group Two over a mile and a quarter at the Dublin venue.

"We're going to run him in the Derrinstown Stud Stakes at Leopardstown. For his last two workouts he's gone to Leopardstown and then to Gowran Park," said Barry Irwin, head of owning syndicate Team Valor International.

"He hasn't grown in terms of height all that much, but he's filled out well. He's one of these horses, like Animal Kingdom, that you need to work him with a few other horses.

"Once he gets in front of them he doesn't want to lead them he just stays there. Unless there's another horse to catch he's just going to do the bare minimum.

Ready

"It seems like he'll be ready to run in that race. We'll look at the English Derby if he looks like he's up to it and so far everything looks good."

Team Valor has a leading fancy, Triple Threat, in the Prix du Jockey Club at Chantilly the day after the Epsom Classic.

The Monsun colt made a promising start to his three-year-old career when winning the Group Three Prix la Force at Longchamp a month ago and will run next in the Prix de Guiche at Chantilly on May 14.

"Triple Threat is with Andre Fabre and is a home-bred of mine. He will go to Chantilly for the Prix de Guiche at Chantilly as his prep for the French Derby," said Irwin.

"We could have a runner in the English and the French Derby. He's third choice in the ante-post market for that race."


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