Last year’s Irish Derby hero Latrobe is back over the Classic distance in the Group 3 Ballyroan Stakes over 1m 4f at Leopardstown on Thursday evening (18:55).
Trained by Joseph O’Brien, this Lloyd Williams owned four-year-old has run some solid races in defeat since his Curragh triumph.
They include when stepped down in trip and beaten just a head in the 1m 2f Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes at Flemington in Australia.
Latrobe shaped better than when a never nearer nine-length third and two-length last of four behind Magical in consecutive runs suggest at the start of this season.
He was giving weight away to that Aidan O’Brien trained filly on his first outing.
Both of those runs, and his 2 3/4 lengths fourth to Addeybb when eased in grade to Listed level for the Wolferton at Royal Ascot, came over 10 furlongs.
It’s looked too sharp for Latrobe throughout his career as he’s zero from seven over it.
Soft ground was also against him at Royal Ascot, but he put in a fine effort when quickly turned out and runner-up in the Curragh Cup last time out.
Latrobe got headed after disputing the lead a furlong out, but kept on well to go down by a neck. He filled the same spot in that Group 2 contest over 1m 6f as when beaten by Flag Of Honour in the Irish St Leger.
The pick of Latrobe’s form sets a clear standard in this lower grade race, and he’s 5lb and upwards clear of his five rivals on official ratings. If there’s one negative, then it’s giving 10lb weight-for-age to the three-year-olds.
They look very in and out, however, so Latrobe appeals most at 10/11 with William Hill for the Ballyroan Stakes under in-form jockey Donnacha O’Brien.
Unexposed Broad Street feared most
Dermot Weld has won this race in nine times since 1997 and steps Broad Street up to the 1m 4f distance for the first time here.
This lightly-raced and unexposed Prince Khalid Abdullah owned four-year-old colt is unbeaten in two career starts.
Broad Street won a Navan maiden over 10 furlongs on debut in May last year when staying on well and beating Lucius Tiberius by 1 3/4 lengths. The runner-up has since won three times including a Premier Handicap at this venue.
Lucius Tiberius also left the Coolmore set when purchased by big international rivals Godolphin. He has run well when a length runner-up in the Old Newton Cup at Haydock over this trip for his new owners.
Since that Navan success, Broad Street spent 393 days on the sidelines before a winning return to action at Gowran Park.
He scored with more in hand the half-a-length winning margin suggests here as jockey Oisin Orr only used hands and heels.
Given his connections and that performance, there should be even more to come from this son of Sea The Stars. Broad Street is open to infinitely more progress than anything in this six-runner line-up.
Weld may have laid him out for this since Gowran Park, so Broad Street – who could be anything – is feared most at 5/1 with Bethard.
The other older horses in the field are Massif Central – winless in 19 starts on turf – and recent John Oxx recruit Giuseppe Garibaldi. The former doesn’t appeal as there’s more than a stone between him and Latrobe on official figures.
Giuseppe Garibaldi on comeback trail
If turning up to Leopardstown in the same shape as when winning the King George V Cup over course and distance last season, then Giuseppe Garibaldi would have claims of the frame.
His subsequent two-length third to Old Persian in the Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot and when 1 1/2 lengths runner-up to Flag Of Honour in the Curragh Cup over further also read well here.
Giuseppe Garibaldi was then held in three subsequent starts in this grade – when beaten seven lengths in the Bahrain Trophy at Newmarket, the Irish St Leger Trial and on Irish Champions Weekend here.
A six-race winless spell with Ahmed Kobeissi in Doha followed after leaving the care of Aidan O’Brien. He shaped as though needing the run on debut for Oxx in Her Majesty’s Plate at Down Royal less than a fortnight ago.
While Giuseppe Garibaldi could come on for that run when beaten eight lengths into third, he was getting weight from the winner, Downdraft.
That one was half-a-length too good for Massif Central off level weights, so this Galileo colt will have to make a big step forward here.
He looks to have lost his way, but the drop back in trip is a plus and Colm O’Donoghue is again in the saddle. If able to recapture his form, then Giuseppe Garibaldi is no forlorn hope at 14/1 with Ladbrokes.
Ballyroan Stakes three-year-olds need consistency
Two three-year-olds take on their elders in this. Blenheim Palace represents Aidan O’Brien and this other Galileo colt tries the trip for the first time.
Blenheim Palace was a maiden until winning a Curragh handicap on his fifth career start. He then chased home Broome in a Classic trial here before flopping in the Prix du Jockey Club at Chantilly.
Although Blenheim Palace looked out of his depth at Group 1 level, he bounced back when eased in grade and runner-up to Buckhurst.
The lightly-raced winner of the Group 3 International Stakes at The Curragh has progressed nicely this season, so a 1 1/2 lengths defeat doesn’t look too bad in that light.
Blenheim Palace’s last effort when bombing out in the Group 1 Belmont Derby Invitational in New York can be disregarded. He’s not at that level.
This is a return to calmer waters and getting 10lb weight-for-age from Latrobe puts him 4lb well-in on adjusted ratings. Blenheim Palace is 13/2 with Betfair here.
Guaranteed completes the Ballyroan Stakes line-up for Jim Bolger. This year’s Irish Derby fifth had scored previously in a Listed affair at The Curragh. He also won a juvenile Group 3 here on his final start of last season.
Although officially 5lb well-in on Latrobe, this Teofilo colt looks overrated by a 6lb hike for his short-head success on that penultimate outing.
Guaranteed was beaten two out in the Irish Derby, and never a factor in the Irish 2000 Guineas or the Classic trials beforehand.
This is obviously easier and terms are favourable, but he may have more to find than his rating suggests.
Neither Blenheim Palace nor Guaranteed appeal here as a result, so it looks a nice opportunity for Latrobe to resume winning ways.