Joseph O’Brien’s coaching career is already full of accolades, but he hopes Saturday’s PW McGrath Memorial Ballysax Stakes, live from Leopardstown on Racing TV, could see him unearth a potential Cazoo Derby contender.
Boucarou is one of nine riders declared for Saturday’s Group Three contest out of 10 furlongs and the son of Qatar Racing-owned Fastnet Rock faces a tough start.
Among his rivals are highly rated colts with O’Brien’s brother Donnacha saddled Piz Badile and Absolute rulewhile his father Aidan leads bluegrass and Scriptwriter.
Joseph O’Brien is looking to the blue ribbon of flat racing with Buckaroo and Leopardstown could prove the perfect springboard for that.
“We are aiming to go the Derby route with Buckaroo all right in the Ballysax,” the coach confirmed.
“He got himself into trouble in his last two races by being a little nonchalant at the start of them. In France (fourth in the Criterium de Saint-Cloud) it was a shockingly messy race and he was last or penultimate almost all the way and stayed well but it was too late. So that’s something that hopefully maturity will sort out.
“He would stay fine but I don’t think he’ll go any further than a mile and a half. I don’t know how far he would stay beyond a mile and a half but he’s out of Roheryn – Johnny ( Murtagh) had her and she was a pretty good filly who stayed a mile and a half, mile and six so that would give her a chance.”
Buckaroo’s form was improved last Tuesday as Stone Age, trained by Aidan O’Brien, won nine lengths from a Navan maiden.
Buckaroo wows in Galway last July as he runs away with a young girl
“He’s a huge, big horse and he beat Stone Age in Galway, who won the maiden well in Navan, and they rode a long way that day. So hopefully he breaks well enough and gets into a good enough position in his races this year to give him a chance, starting at Leopardstown.
Some of O’Brien’s aforementioned world successes have come with horses wearing the colors of Australian Lloyd Williams and those colors will be worn in the Ballysax by his stablemate. Swan Bay.
“We think Swan Bay is a horse that will stay well and we’ll see how he does in the Ballysax and take it from there,” O’Brien commented.
by Jim Bolger Manu And Rope ran well in good company last season, while Dermot Weld is hoping for a good performance from Duke of Sessa and the estate is completed by the Henry of Bromhead-trained Vina Sena.
“Bluegrass was just a little green in Newmarket, it took a while for the penny to drop, he has a lazy way of doing it,” O’Brien senior said earlier this week. “He didn’t run too badly in Zetland having never raced. Newmarket can be like that if you don’t know your job.
Elsewhere on Saturday, O’Brien will also be represented in the Ballylinch Stud Priory Belle 1,000 Guineas Trial with second place in Group 1 Agartha and also Pennine Hills and Seisaigiving him three of the 12 declared starters.
Regarding the card, O’Brien said: “These races are going to be tough at Leopardstown this weekend which is good to see.
“It’s a great way to start the season. And because the ground might give way, or slightly better, people won’t be afraid to run good horses. When it’s heavy, it’s hard, because a lot of these horses, heavy ground is not their thing. We’ve seen this time and time again, so when the terrain is nice, people run early with these beautiful horses.
“When you look at the entries for the trials, those are all the horses you would have in mind for the classic races. They are Group 3 in name, but they are probably more like Group 2 and there will be Group 1 horses in there.
“It’s good. Racing in Ireland is so competitive. Every young girl you hang out with can come across anything and that’s why people want to buy Irish horses. And that’s why people want to have horses in training in Ireland and that is what makes us successful.
O’Brien added: “Pennine Hills’ last race was at Leopardstown and it ran well over that course and that distance. She’s a decent, solid filly, I would say, a sturdy filly. She is fast and she stays.
“Seisai ran well in most races for these fillies last year and she won a stakes race. She’s a good solid filly, while Agartha won over course and distance last year and would probably look to The Curragh rather than Newmarket for her Classic target.
Ger Lyons is also likely to have a decision to make over Newmarket or The Curragh for his classic competitor holy bridgewhich makes its seasonal debut on Saturday.
The Juddmonte-owned filly is the top-rated of the dozen riders out of 111 and is one of two riders for the trainer, with Lyons also set to win the saddle course and distance. Panama Red.
homeless songs is an intriguing runner for Dermot Weld, while Jessica Harrington runs both Viareggio and Queen Villanova. Aidan O’Brien’s sole representative in the fillies event is Naas’ first winner Contarelli Chapel.
Trials begin with the Ballylinch Stud Red Rocks 2,000 Guineas Trial in which Lyons is again represented by an artist ranked 111 in Dr. Zempfwhile Aidan O’Brien goes with a team of foals numerically stronger than Glounthaune, Howth and the acropolis go ahead for champion coach.
Speaking earlier this week, Aidan O’Brien said: “Glounthaune is doing very well and showing a lot of pace.
“America (Breeders’ Cup) was probably too fast for him, Ryan said he couldn’t organize it and he was too green on the track but he’s fine. We played catch-up all last season , it’s a big horse , but it could be one for the French Guineas.
Speaking after the statements, Ballylinch Stud’s John O’Connor said: “All of us at Ballylinch have been delighted with the quality of the Guineas Trials we sponsor at Leopardstown.
Last year, for example, the “Red Rocks 2,000 Guineas Trial” featured three other international Group 1 winners, Poetic Flare (2000 Guineas and St and St James’s Palace), A Case Of You (Prix de l’Abbaye and Al Quoz Sprint) and Laws des Indices (Jean Prat Prize).
“The Priory Belle 1,000 Guineas Trial in 2021 attracted two subsequent Classic winners, Empress Josephine (Irish 1,000 Guineas) and Joan Of Arc (Prix de Diane). compete in this exceptional event, including Alpha Centauri, Iridessa, Hydrangea and Winter, all multiple Group 1 winners.
“We look forward to welcoming race fans and viewers to what is always an intriguing day of racing and hope that the riders from both races at Ballylinch on Saturday continue to achieve as much success as those who came before them.”
To celebrate Ballylinch Stud Classic Trials Day as the first flat meeting of the season at Leopardstown Racecourse, a series of talks will take place in the brand new Legacy Lounge between races with key industry figures.
MC Tom Nugent will have the thoughts of trainer Johnny Murtagh, assistant trainer Jessica Harrington Kate Harrington, jockey Ronan Whelan, Ballylinch Stud Bloodstock and Appointments Manager, Eoin Fives and Shamrock Thoroughbred Union official Stephen Thorne on their hopes for the season and horses to watch. Admission is free and light refreshments will be provided.
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