Friday 23 February 2018

Chaucer can write name up in lights

Geoffrey Chaucer and Joseph O’Brien can land tomorrow’s Derby trial
Geoffrey Chaucer and Joseph O’Brien can land tomorrow’s Derby trial
Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

GEOFFREY CHAUCER is Aidan O'Brien's sole runner in tomorrow's Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial, though that no longer implies that he is the stable's chosen one for Epsom.

Galileo and High Chaparral, the current Ballydoyle operation's first two Derby heroes, both took in Leopardstown's 10-furlong Group Three en route to glory.

Over time, however, O'Brien's strategy has evolved, with Camelot going via the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket and Ruler Of The World taking in the Chester Vase before securing his shock Classic victory.

Given that Orchestra and Kingfisher both threw their names into the hat on the Roodee this week following Australia's immensely satisfying Guineas defeat last Saturday, O'Brien's Epsom hand once again looks potent.

He has farmed nine of the last 13 editions of this €100,000 contest, and Geoffrey Chaucer warrants his position at the head of the market now.

In making it two wins from two outings in the Curragh's Beresford Stakes in September, he dismissed Oklahoma City and the reopposing Altruistic with real authority.

Oklahoma City went on to claim a valuable race at Newmarket before then finishing second there to Kingston Hill, which subsequently had Altruistic back in third in a Doncaster Group One.

That is pretty serious form, so Geoffrey Chaucer, a half-brother to the dual French Classic winner Shamardal, is fancied to confirm his precocity under Joseph O'Brien tomorrow.

If he does prevail, he will surely emerge as a legitimate threat to Australia at the head of the ante-post market for Epsom, because this year's Derrinstown has far more depth to it than of late.

Dermot Weld's Fascinating Rock is respected, with Kingfisher franking the form of his Ballysax win in timely fashion yesterday.

Answered, second in the Ballysax, represents Jim Bolger, while Ger Lyons provides a crucial angle on the cross-channel prospects via Obliterator, which was a clear second best to True Story at Newmarket last month.

The previous fillies' Group Three has thrown up little in the way of Classic pointers in recent years.


Still, this nine-runner renewal has plenty intrigue, not least in the shape of O'Brien's Palace, a daughter of Fastnet Rock that he spoke highly of after she won at Navan recently.

Prior to that, Palace was fourth to Waltzing Matilda on their respective track debuts at Leopardstown.

The Tommy Stack-trained Waltzing Matilda dug deep to prevail on that occasion despite running quite green in the straight, so she should improve for the outing.

With the runner-up Miss Gally Rio also successful next time, her form reads well, and any softening of the ground would suit.

Wayne Lordan's mount gets the nod to reaffirm her superiority tomorrow, then, though it promises to be a really informative affair, as the likes of John Oxx's Stars So Bright and David Wachman's Booker also lend substance to the field.

Weld's in-form battalion might strike with the three-year-old Mustajeeb in the Amethyst Stakes. David O'Meara sends over Penitent for this mile Group Three, but Mustajeeb is the one runner with scope to progress into something a little above the ordinary.

The Galway maiden winner finished second to War Command on his final Curragh start last term, so it would be no surprise to see him thwart some of his more battle-hardened rivals here.

Weld saddles just two on today's predominantly Flat card at Wexford, where Backdrop and Marty's Magic are both fancied to fulfil their potential in their respective maidens.

In the mares' bumper, Gordon Elliott's Bell Walks Day is napped to score under Nina Carberry.

Granted, this looks a wide-open 16-runner heat, but Elliott's full-sister to Time For Rupert travelled really well before keeping on at one pace to be sixth behind Ardnahoe at Limerick in March. If she builds on that encouraging display, she ought to win here.

Irish Independent

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