Sunday 21 January 2018

Epsom trial suits Idaho

Trainer Aidan O'Brien. Photo: Press Association
Trainer Aidan O'Brien. Photo: Press Association

Anita Chambers

Aidan O'Brien tests yet more Investec Derby contenders in the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at Leopardstown this afternoon.

Idaho is the obvious pick of his four contenders - although Ryan Moore rides Shogun - as he looks likely to be suited by much better ground than he encountered on his reappearance in the Ballysax Stakes.

The Galileo colt impressed on his debut on good ground last October but was then found out on heavy in a French Group One and a similarly testing surface at this track last month did not suit.

That said, he did not run badly in second behind the well-regarded Harzand and while trips of 12 furlongs or more look ideal, he could still prove too sharp over this mile-and-a-quarter trip.

Dermot Weld was keen to highlight Tirmizi's "progressive" streak ahead. Despite having had just one run, a maiden success in the autumn, the Sea The Stars colt is as low as 16/1 for Epsom.

Tirmizi now puts his Classic credentials on the line by stepping up in trip and in class for a key Derby Trial.

"He's a big horse," says Weld. "The only time he ran was as a two-year-old at Leopardstown, when he won a competitive maiden. He's progressive and he wants good ground. I think he'll represent us very well."

The Derby picture is most perplexing at present, but a win here could see Idaho promoted to one of Ballydoyle's leading contenders for Epsom.

Cougar Mountain can make it a Group-race double for O'Brien as he too should appreciate better ground in the Amethyst Stakes.

A mile appears to be his optimum trip and if he can recapture the kind of form that saw him finish third behind Solow at Royal Ascot last year, Cougar Mountain will be tough to beat.

Weld's Emergent should feel the benefit of her debut run in the Derrinstown Stud 1,000 Guineas Trial.

Weld had made no secret of the fact she needed the run when a well-beaten third in a Navan Listed heat, so better is expected here.

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