Wednesday 21 March 2018

Moore flies in before Kentucky Derby bid

Aidan O'Brien Photo: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile
Aidan O'Brien Photo: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile

Michael Verney

It's not every day that a Breeders Cup winner runs at Dundalk's all-weather track or one of the world's finest jockeys rides at the Louth venue but both will happen tonight with Ryan Moore aboard Mendelssohn in the featured Listed Patton Stakes (7.30).

English-based Moore hasn't ridden at Dundalk since this meeting three years ago but makes the trip to partner last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf winner Mendelssohn for Aidan O'Brien in the €75,000 event ahead of a possible tilt at May's Kentucky Derby.

Storm Emma scuppered last week's meeting but the presence of O'Brien's star-studded trio of Mendelssohn, Group Two scorer Seahenge and Group One Dewhurst Stakes fourth Threeandfourpence more than compensates on tonight's card.

O'Brien ended his record-breaking 2017 with 28 Group One winners - breaking Bobby Frankel's previous mark of 25 in a single season - and is eyeing another slice of history by winning the famous Kentucky Derby, the first leg of American racing's 'Triple Crown'.

The Ballydoyle maestro has had one previous runner in the Kentucky Derby - Master Of Hounds which finished fifth in 2011 - and will hope to have another after tonight with Moore expected to score in the 1m contest aboard the odds-on favourite.

Meanwhile, today's Leopardstown card is highlighted by the €50,000 TRI Equestrian Handicap Chase (3.30) with Gordon Elliott - who leads the Irish trainers' championship by just over €420,000 from reigning champion Willie Mullins - bidding to collect another valuable pot.

Mullins has no entries so it offers the Meath trainer a great opportunity to extend his lead and he saddles Jetstream Jack (Davy Russell) and General Principle (Jack Kennedy) in a cracking 10-runner contest.

Drumconnor Lad had Cheltenham aspirations but Adrian Keatley's charge looks unlikely to make the cut so runs here instead and will be a tough nut to crack, but they all might be trumped by Blast Of Koeman.

Kinsale trainer Robert Tyner makes the trip to the Foxrock track with a live chance after his seven-year-old ran with credit behind the well-handicapped Patrick's Park at the Dublin Racing Festival.

Elsewhere, the opening hurdle (1.20) offers Jessica Harrington's Jezki an ideal opportunity to pick up the 16th win of his career. A trip to the Cotswolds looked likely for the 2014 Champion Hurdle winner but the 10-year-old stays at home and this looks a gilt-edged opportunity to score.

Irish Independent

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