Friday 24 November 2017

John F Kennedy drifts in Derby betting after Leopardstown flop

Trainer Aidan O'Brien
Trainer Aidan O'Brien

Thomas Kelly

John F Kennedy lost his place as favourite for the Investec Derby after finishing a well-beaten last of three on his seasonal debut at Leopardstown.

The result prompted a major shake-up in the betting for Epsom Classic, with the Aidan O’Brien-trained colt being replaced as market leader by his stablemate Ol’ Man River, which was promoted to head of the market at 6/1.

John F Kennedy was eased out to 7/1 from 7/2 after finishing last of three behind race-fit Success Days (10/1) in the PW McGrath Memorial Ballysax Stakes.

Shane Foley ensured a true test by setting a solid pace on the Ken Condon-trained colt.

The writing was on the wall early in the straight as Success Days kicked clear to win unopposed by four-and-a-half lengths from Zafilani, with 1/4 shot John F Kennedy and Ryan Moore a further six lengths away.

“We said we’d make use of him as he had the run under his belt and possibly had the edge in fitness,” said Condon.

“The other two were always going to want a lead and it worked out great. I’m delighted.

“He’s in the Irish Guineas, but has no other fancy entries. I think the Irish Derby is later closing now and that’s something we could look at. I’m sure the favourite will do great things in the summer, but this was our day.”

A great day for Foley got even better when the Jessica Harrington-trained Princess Aloof (16/1) claimed the concluding Follow Leopardstown On Facebook Handicap.

Trainer Dermot Weld and jockey Pat Smullen followed up their four-timer at Gowran on Saturday with another four courtesy of Zannda, Zawraq, Stormfly and Zafayan.

Zawraq was a big mover in the Classic markets after running out an impressive winner of the Leopardstown 2,000 Guineas Trial.


Conqueror of the well-touted Sir Isaac Newton on his only start as a juvenile, the 11/8 favourite looked the part as he swept clear in the final quarter-mile to beat Endless Drama by three-and-a-half lengths.

Stormfly (4/1 joint favourite) hardly gave her supporters an anxious moment as she swept to an emphatic victory in the Leopardstown 1,000 Guineas Trial.

Blinkered for the first time, she pulled clear in the final furlong to score by three and three-quarter lengths from Devonshire.

Zannda (4/6 favourite) dug deep to take the 10-furlong Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Maiden by half a length from Wedding Vow, while Zafayan (11/4 favourite) completed the Weld-Smullen quartet when landing the Leopardstown Club 25 Membership Handicap.

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