Leopardstown Saturday: Centauri Can Take Guineas Trial on Way To Better Things3 min read
Rory Delargy thinks Jessica Harrington has a classic candidate on her hands at Leopardstown
2:10 Ballylinch Stud 2000 Guineas Trial Stakes
The heavy ground throws a very different light on this Guineas trial, and while U S Navy Flag is the clear pick on official ratings, he looks very vulnerable tackling such conditions, and Dermot Weld could provide a small shock courtesy of Imaging, who was brought along gradually as a juvenile, and has shown emphatically that he’s trained on with a win at Cork two weeks ago. His margin of victory in a moderate contest was not impressive, but hides a smart performance, as he was held up off the gallop in a race where the runner-up dictated a slow pace and kicked at the right time. That effort marks him down as a smart performer, and with the benefit of a run, he may be a tough nut to crack. U S Navy Flag and Gustav Klimt are both Group winners at Newmarket, and clearly set the bar pretty high, but heavy ground is a great leveller, and neither is likely to be at their best given the conditions and the fact that this is a stepping stone to bigger prizes.
Bet: Back Imaging to win @
2:45 Ballylinch Stud ‘priory Belle’ 1000 Guineas Trial Stakes
Heavy ground will hopefully hold no fears for Jessica Harrington’s Alpha Centauri, who is a big, heavy topped filly likely to prove best with ease underfoot, for all she disappointed on soft ground in the Moyglare Stud Stakes on her final juvenile outing. She had Actress behind when a close second in Royal Ascot’s Albany Stakes, and appeals much more than that rival on easy ground, especially as she gives the strong impression she should make up into a much better three-year-old than she did last year, when clearly growing into her impressive frame.
Bet: Back Alpha Centauri to win @
3:50 P.W. McGrath Memorial Ballysax Stakes
The Pentagon was well held on heavy ground on his debut, but that should be put down to experience rather than conditions, and it’s no surprise that Ryan Moore prefers the Racing Post Trophy third over Aidan O’Brien’s other runners in this traditional Derby trial. The Doncaster race is a key piece of form as far as the 2018 classics are concerned, and it will be pleasing to see that form franked here.
Bet: Back The Pentagon to win @