Sport Horse Racing

Monday 19 February 2018

O'Brien's Recital faces stiff test


After a top class week of racing, the action continues today at Leopardstown, where the feature race is the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial.

Aidan O'Brien sends out Recital, and the champion trainer could not have had a better week coming into a race he has won eight times in the last 13 runnings.

The week started with ex-Australian-trained So You Think obliterating a Group Three field at the Curragh on Monday. Then four winners from four runners at Chester for Ballydoyle, where Wonder Of Wonders and Treasure Beach outlined their Classic credentials, while Await The Dawn and the return to form of St Nicholas Abbey added even more strength to O'Brien's older horse category with classy display around the Roodee.

It may be significant that Recital takes his chance here, given that the son of Montjeu was a little disappointing as an 8/13 favourite when failing to win the Ballysax Stakes on his previous run. He was too keen when sitting off the pace, had a lot to do rounding the turn and when challenging inside the final furlong, just failed to pick off the Jim Bolger-trained Banimpire and Regent Street.

The booking of Kieran Fallon continues the 'best available' policy for Ballydoyle with regard to riding arrangements.

Recital could face tough opposition from the John Oxx-trained Zanughan, which got off the mark at Navan previously. Oxx won this race with Sinndar in 2000 and Alamshar in 2003 and Zanughan has been impressing the Curragh-based trainer since coming back to him as a three-year-old.

Dermot Weld is one of the few trainers to have wrestled this race from the grasp of Ballydoyle in recent times, and he sends out Rich Tapestry, which will need to reverse Ballysax form.

Although the 10-furlong event hasn't found the winner of the Derby since High Chaparral went on to Epsom glory in 2002, the likes of Fame And Glory and Dylan Thomas have all gone on to perform admirably at Epsom and it's safe to assume that today's winner will take up a prominent role on the camber next month.

The fillies get a chance to stake a claim for the Irish 1000 Guineas today. Perhaps the most intriguing runner here is the Weld-trained Zaminast, last seen taking a maiden at Galway last season. It wouldn't be unlike Weld to send one of his good two-year-olds to Ballybrit, he did the same with subsequent Irish Derby winner Grey Swallow in 2003 and he also took this race with subsequent Irish 1000 Guineas heroine Bethrah last season.

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