Broome ready to sweep Ballysax rivals aside for O'Brien and Moore
The world's greatest steeplechase may be taking place across the Irish Sea at Aintree today but much focus on these shores will be on the level with a smashing Flat card at Leopardstown.
The new season is only kicking into gear but punters won't have long to wait for their appetite to be whet at the Foxrock track where Madhmoon looks to further advertise his Guineas credentials.
Unbeaten in two starts and a scintillating winner of the Champions Juvenile Stakes here last September, Kevin Prendergast's three-year-old will take all the beating in the Listed Ballylinch Stud 'Red Rocks' 2,000 Guineas Trial (2.10).
The son of Dawn Approach - as low as 10/1 for next month's English 2,000 Guineas - can highlight his class under Chris Hayes to deny champion trainer Aidan O'Brien his fourth successive win.
O'Brien is responsible for three of the nine runners with recent Naas handicap winner Never No More, San Andreas and The Irish Rover engaged but it's hard to envisage Madhmoon being turned over.
O'Brien's Broome chased home Madhmoon in second at Leopardstown last autumn and that form can be boosted further in the Group Three PW McGrath Memorial Ballysax Stakes (3.50).
The Ballydoyle colt subsequently went down by a neck in a French Group One on his final start as a two-year-old and he brings the best available form to the table in the hands of Ryan Moore.
O'Brien saddles three once again with Sydney Opera House - the mount of champion jockey Donnacha O'Brien - very closely matched on ratings but Moore's mount holds the edge. The red-hot form of Jim Bolger (Guaranteed) and Dermot Weld (Tankerville) brings them into the mix but Broome can sweep his five rivals aside.
Iridessa exceeded previous form when landing the Group One Fillies' Mile at Newmarket last October but Joseph O'Brien's charge faces a tricky task carrying a 3lb penalty in the Group Three Ballylinch Stud 1,000 Guineas Trial (2.45).
O'Brien has stressed that Iridessa will "probably come forward for her first run" and Sheila Lavery's Lady Kaya may be the one to benefit under Robbie Colgan.
The daughter of Dandy Man was far from disgraced when sixth on her last start in the Group One Cheveley Park Stakes and the form of her earlier second to the high-class Skitter Scatter gives her every chance of upsetting Iridessa.
Tomorrow's attention switches back to the jumps at Fairyhouse where Willie Mullins' Mister Blue Sky takes on Gordon Elliott's Eclair De Beaufeu in a fascinating renewal of the Grade Two Fairyhouse Racecourse Supporting Irish Injured Jockeys Association Novice Hurdle (2.55).
Mullins and Ruby Walsh are also likely to carry much support in the Grade Two Fairyhouse Easter Festival Novice Hurdle (3.30) but it may pay to side with Oliver McKiernan's consistent Gallant John Joe, a recent Listed winner at Naas, under Denis O'Regan.
The concluding Listed Mares' Bumper (5.05) is a quality affair where Peter Fahey's Gypsy Island can get the better of a talented Mullins pair, Colreevy and Yukon Lil, while tomorrow's Listed Noblesse Stakes (3.45) at Cork can go the way of Ger Lyons' Who's Steph.