Bobby Zen

With Chester’s Derby and Oaks pointers failing to unearth a dazzling candidate this week, it is the turn of Lingfield on Saturday to potentially provide a clearer picture of how the Epsom Classics will shape up. The Listed Derby Trial, which has produced one Blue Riband hero in recent times in Anthony Van Dyck (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}), sees Ballydoyle bring across their G3 Ballysax S. second and third The Euphrates (GB) (Frankel {GB}) and Illinois (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) and Ryan Moore keeping the faith in the latter.

All the evidence so far in 2024 points to Aidan O’Brien’s runners badly needing their first run back, so it is probably wise to cut last year’s G1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud third Illinois quite a bit of slack and this is traditionally the week that the stable first finds that irresistible form that can run deep into the year. With his Saint-Cloud conqueror Los Angeles (Ire) (Camelot {GB}) set for Sunday’s G3 Derby Trial at Leopardstown, we should know a lot more prior to York’s Dante Festival which forms the climax of the run of middle-distance Classic trials.

Away from Ballydoyle, the Lingfield prep also hands Highclere Thoroughbred Racing and Harry Herbert another chance to get excited as the Roger Varian-trained Defiance (Ire) (Camelot {GB}) bids to build on an eye-catching second in a renewal of Epsom’s Blue Riband Trial possibly a shade deeper than is usually the case. Re-opposed by the fourth in that 10-furlong contest, Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum’s TDN Rising Star Arabic Legend (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}), Defiance has the feel of a colt coming good at the right time to give him a squeak in the Derby.

“Right now I think he’s a live contender,” Herbert said. “He’s a beautifully-balanced horse who has shown he can act around Epsom and he’s going to stay well, so he’s ticking some good boxes but first of all we’ve got to see if he can win a race like this. We’ll know afterwards whether we’ll be throwing our cards into the Derby ring or going elsewhere.”

 

Does The King Have Hidden Classic Treasure?

It is 23 years since the Royal silks went close to winning an Epsom Classic and the pain of Flight Of Fancy (GB) (Sadler’s Wells) finding one too good in the Oaks was in turn 24 years on from the success of Dunfermline (GB) for The Queen. Ralph Beckett, who has already uncovered an Oaks gem in midweek, saddles the current monarch’s authoritative Nottingham maiden winner Treasure (GB) (Mastercraftsman {Ire}) in the Listed Lingfield Oaks Trial that he tends to target with his better prospects. “Ralph is very happy with Treasure, who has the size and scope to be a decent filly,” The King and Queen’s racing adviser John Warren said. “We are on a fact-finding mission and as she has been prepped specifically for this race, we will learn where we stand after this to plan her future.”

The Gosdens are waiting on the weather for Anthony Oppenheimer’s 12-length Wetherby novice winner Danielle (GB) (Cracksman {GB}), who made giant strides on soft ground there. “The plan is to go to Lingfield with Danielle at the moment and let’s hope that goes well,” John Gosden said. “She won well last time, but obviously I hope the ground stays good. If it dries up then I would be concerned about running her on quick ground.”

 

Remarquee Returns…

Also at Lingfield is the seven-furlong G3 Chartwell Fillies’ S., where last year’s G3 Fred Darling S. winner and G1 Coronation S. and G1 Falmouth S. runner-up Remarquee (GB) (Kingman {GB}) is another for Ralph Beckett, while Chantilly’s G3 Prix de Guiche sees the Wertheimers’ G3 Prix la Force winner Atlast  (Fr) (Farhh {GB}) pitched in against Jean-Etienne Dubois and Haras d’Etreham’s Darlinghurst (Ire) (Dark Angel {Ire}) who beat the subsequent G3 Prix Greffulhe winner Wootton Verni (Fr) (Wootton Bassett {GB}) in the Listed Prix Maurice Caillault at Chantilly in March.

 

Draw Made For ParisLongchamp Classics…

Sunday’s swathe of European stakes action is headlined by ParisLongchamp’s Emirates-sponsored G1 Poule d’Essai des Pouliches and G1 Poule d’Essai des Poulains and both Classics have attracted double-figure fields. Of the 15 fillies set for the Pouliches, connections of the G3 Prix Imprudence winner Romantic Style (Ire) (Night Of Thunder {Ire}) has been dealt a blow with a wide draw in 14, while fellow overseas raiders Vespertilio (Fr) (Night Of Thunder {Ire}), who was runner-up in the G1 Moyglare Stud S., and the GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf fourth Content (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) are in 11 and eight, respectively. Of the home team, the G1 Prix Marcel Boussac second Rose Bloom (Ire) (Lope De Vega {Ire}) is in stall one, while the undefeated TDN Rising Star Louise Procter (Fr) (Siyouni {Fr}) also fared favourably next door in two.

The €650,000 Poulains features a sextet of TDN Rising Stars headed by Ballydoyle’s G1 Vincent O’Brien National S. hero and likely favourite Henry Longfellow (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}), who is set to be partnered by Ryan Moore and has drawn stall six. Stablemate Diego Velazquez (Ire) (Frankel {GB}), with Christophe Soumillon booked, will exit from gate 11 while France’s octet includes the G1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere third and fellow TDN Rising Star Beauvatier (Fr) (Lope De Vega {Ire}). The Yann Barberot trainee will be loaded next door to Diego Velazquez in stall 10, with his G3 Prix de Fontainebleau conqueror Ramadan (Fr) (Le Havre {Ire}) perfectly placed in stall five.

Ground conditions look set to dry out by Sunday, with track manager Charles De Cordon also revealing that the “open stretch” six metres out from the running rail will be utilised approximately 450 metres from the post. “Good-to-soft ground is forecast for Sunday, with a 50% chance of rain materialising on Sunday afternoon,” he said. “There will be no watering of the course between now and Sunday and the open stretch, redundant since the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe Meeting, will again come into play.”

The post Lingfield Trials Take Centre Stage On Saturday appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

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