Dunboyne Express on track to run away with Guineas Trial
Roderic O'Connor's defection from the 2,000 Guineas Trial at Leopardstown tomorrow may have left Dunboyne Express with a very straightforward assignment on his seasonal reappearance.
The Ballydoyle Group One winner would have added muscle to a race that has become increasingly insignificant as a trial for either the Irish or English 2,000 Guineas since Refuse To Bend began his Classic-winning campaign here eight years ago.
As it is, the Kevin Prendergast-trained Dunboyne Express is the only horse in the one-mile, four-runner contest that has achieved any more than a maiden success.
John Oxx's impressive Cork winner Cocozza certainly has potential, but this ought to be little more than a formality for Dunboyne Express. A runaway winner of the Anglesey Stakes in July, the Shamardal colt ran with some credit when fifth to Casamento in the Racing Post Trophy, so he should be good enough to collect.
The 1,000 Guineas Trial is far more competitive. Oxx's Manieree, which finished second to Cocozza before winning at Leopardstown in October, is one to consider, with John Grogan's Katla a more experienced type that has proven class.
While Ballydoyle is well represented with three runners, it is hard to nominate one as a potential star, so a chance is taken on Oxx's second contender, History Note, fulfilling the promise of her debut triumph at The Curragh in the autumn. A short-head winner then, History Note beat little of significance, but won in taking fashion.
Wonder Of Wonders, second to Manieree at Leopardstown, should have the class to take the opening maiden under Seamie Heffernan, with Ballydoyle also fancied in the 10-furlong handicap. The stable's Enchanted Forest shoulders top-weight of 9st 10lb in that, but he has been dropped 4lb for a disappointing handicap turn in September, and Joseph O'Brien takes another 5lb off.
Indeed, the father and son team could secure a double with Apache in the last race of the day. The Galileo colt impressed when just run out of it by Banksters Bonus at The Curragh last season, and he may be too strong for Alayir now.