Zarinsk among potential stars on show at Leopardstown

Horse Racing

Two Guineas trials and a Derby trial to take place at Foxrock venue.

Irish Champions Weekend winner Zarinsk is among a classy field of 14 runners set to line up in the Ballylinch Stud “Priory Belle” 1,000 Guineas Trial at Leopardstown on Sunday.

Trained by Ger Lyons, the Juddmonte-owned filly bounded clear to win the Ingabelle Stakes in September, after which connections were happy to put her away for the season.

While that victory came on soft ground, the going is expected to be far more testing this weekend, with a precautionary inspection planned for 7.30am after more rain on Saturday morning left the going officially heavy.

“She ended last year on a good note winning on Champions Weekend in good style and she’s wintered well, Ger is happy with her and this looks a nice starting point,” said Juddmonte’s Barry Mahon.

“She won with cut in the ground – but there’s cut and there’s what we have at the minute. We’ve had a lot of rain recently, so you wouldn’t know about heavy.

“She’s a very nice filly and we’ve been very happy with her, and she’s ready to go.

“There was no temptation to run her again after Leopardstown. That was job done – she’d won her stakes race. So we put her away, as she was a very tall filly last year, and straight after the race we were happy to say that was her season done and to give her a bit of time.

“She’d had four runs, so hopefully we’ve a nice filly for this year.”

Never Ending Story with Aidan O'Brien and Ryan Moore
Never Ending Story with Aidan O’Brien and Ryan Moore (Brian Lawless/PA)

Aidan O’Brien runs three, with Ryan Moore on Never Ending Story, who brings Group One form to the contest, having been fourth in the Moyglare and third in the Prix Marcel Boussac.

Joseph O’Brien’s Madly Truly and Thornbrook, Kieran Cotter’s Matilda Picotte, Dermot Weld’s Tarawa and Paddy Twomey’s Impact Warrior also bring strong claims to the table.

Only seven colts have been declared for the Ballylinch Stud “Red Rocks” 2,000 Guineas Trial.

Aidan O’Brien’s Hans Andersen sets the standard, having finished second in the Futurity last season before slightly disappointing in the National Stakes when fifth.

Jessica Harrington runs Bold Discovery, bought by owner Marc Chan following an impressive debut win at Naas.

His first run in his new colours saw him finish a respectable third to Cairo in the Killavullan Stakes.

“He might be just a bit short of match practice but we hope he will be a nice horse this year,” said Jamie McCalmont, the owner’s racing manager.

“First time out he ended up on the lead and won, and I think that was a bit of a surprise, then the next time he ended up on the lead again. So the horse just lacks some racing experience and the idea on Sunday is to get him to come from behind and I think he will improve a lot from Sunday’s race.

“He’s a very big horse that will hopefully just get better with time, so we will take things slowly with him.”

In 2016 Dermot Weld’s Harzand won the P.W. McGrath Memorial Ballysax Stakes before winning the Derby and the O’Brien family will be hoping to repeat the trick.

Aidan O’Brien runs the Moore-ridden Alexandroupolis, winner of his only start to date, as well as Denmark and Mohawk Chief.

His eldest son, Joseph O’Brien, is represented Up And Under, while his sibling Donnacha is represented by Alder, third in a Group Two to Auguste Rodin when last seen.

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