Turf Talk: O’Brien poised to test more Derby contenders at potentially enlightening Leopardstown meeting

Aidan O'Brien

Aidan O'Brien

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While the British action is merely average fare, the card at Leopardstown promising to be most enlightening as Aidan O’Brien tests yet more Investec Derby contenders in the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial.

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

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.

Dermot 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.

British action is limited to jumps cards at Plumpton and Ludlow, with Hermosa Vaquera seemingly the pick in the Julie Brown Memorial Handicap Hurdle at the first-named venue. Gary Moore’s charge had her first hurdles start since last September at this track a couple of weeks ago and she skipped home by just under three lengths with only the minimum of encouragement needed.

SOBOT’S SELECTIONS

LEOPARDSTOWN: 1.55 Medicine Jack, 2.25 Cougar Mountain (treble), 3.00 Emergent, 3.35 IDAHO (NAP), 4.10 Tribal Path, 4.40 Pullman Brown, 5.10 Cole Porter.

LIMERICK: 2.05 Dont Stop, 2.40 Siena Bouquet, 3.15 Twiss’s Hill, 3.45 Goulane Chosen, 4.20 Definite Ruby, 4.50 Shantalla, 5.20 The Green Lady.

LUDLOW: 2.00 Sanaija, 2.30 Royalraise (next best), 3.05 North Hill, 3.40 Unison, 4.15 Storm Of Swords, 4.45 River Of Intrigue, 5.15 Dreyfus.

PLUMPTON: 2.15 Piton Pete, 2.50 Exmoor Challenge, 3.25 Molly Oscar, 4.00 Hermosa Vaquera, 4.30 Byron Flyer, 5.00 Here I Am, 5.30 Market Court.

Cue Card and Paddy Brennan on their way to winning the Betfair Steeple Chase at Haydock in November.

Turf Talk: Cue Card looked suited to a second Ascot Chase success