Ireland hosts its own Classic trials card at Leopardstown this Sunday. In the Group 3 Derby Trial over 1m 2f (15:25), course and distance winner Broome looks a worthy 4/9 favourite with Paddy Power to follow-up on his Ballysax success on reappearance.
This Australia colt out of an Acclamation mare is yet another well-regarded inmate of the Aidan O’Brien stables at Ballydoyle.
After winning a Galway maiden over a mile on his second career start, Broome found a drop back in trip too sharp in the Group 3 Acomb Stakes.
He was then far from disgraced on the upgrade back at a mile when chasing home Madhmoon in the juvenile race on Irish Champions Weekend here.
Broome rounded off the campaign with a gallant neck second to Royal Marine in a Group 1 over in France on Arc weekend.
Like many O’Brien colts and fillies, he is bred to come into his own for Classics and proved that in no uncertain fashion when bolting up by eight lengths at this venue on reappearance.
Broome was again ridden under hold-up tactics by Ryan Moore in the Group 3 Ballysax, but made very eye-catching headway two from home and led well before the final furlong.
He was then driven clear and stayed on strongly to easily win. There were no excuses for the likes of stable companion Sovereign and Pythion, who were second and third that day and both re-oppose.
Broome simply has nothing to fear from either and his dominant display has earned him a best-price 10/1 quote for the Epsom Derby.
It’s interesting that connections want to get another run into him and, on official figures, he has 9lb and upwards in hand on the field. Broome just can’t be opposed on all known form.
Unexposed duo Buckhurst and Rakan have each-way claims
If those in-behind in the Ballysax pose no threat to the hot favourite, then it could pay to look at less exposed rivals. Two in particular are worthy of consideration, and the first of those is Buckhurst.
Trained by Joseph O’Brien for Lloyd Williams, this half-brother to Broome is a course winner over a mile on soft ground when scoring by a nose under a perfectly-timed ride in a maiden last month.
Buckhurst just headed Jack Yeats in the final stride to nab victory. The runner-up has come out and won since, and was previously seventh to the aforementioned Madhmoon in his sole start as a juvenile.
That one was far from disgraced when a 4 1/2 lengths fourth to Magna Grecia in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.
Buckhurst is open to the most progress of any colt in this seven-runner line-up after just the one career start, and can be backed at 11/1 with Betfair to take the step up in class and trip.
Dermot Weld also has a hand to play in this, and his Rakan finished in front of the re-opposing Blenheim Palace when a seven-length third to Norway on debut.
That run, and the fact that this son of Sea The Stars came out and won since give him each-way claims.
Rakan recorded a 2 3/4 lengths victory over a mile here back in October, and the fourth horse home Gentle Bellini advertised the form when comfortably winning a 1m 2f Cork maiden last month.
As handler Weld has saddled nine winners of this Derby Trial – second only to O’Brien senior and his haul of 11 – Rakan is another one to consider each-way at 8/1 with Coral.
Trethias worth another chance in Derrinstown
The other Classic trial on the card is the 1m Group 3 Derrinstown Stud 1000 Guineas Trial (14:50), and Trethias looks well worth forgiving her last run when seventh at Listed level.
This Jessica Harrington trained filly is by Invincible Spirit out of a Selkirk mare and beat leading Epsom Oaks fancy Pink Dogwood as a juvenile comfortably in a Curragh mile maiden.
Connections dropped Trethias back in trip and she was twice fourth over a trip that was too sharp, including when a never nearer seven lengths behind subsequent English 1000 Guineas heroine Hermosa at Naas in the Group 3 Weld Park Stakes.
Stepping up in trip to 1m 2f for the Salsabil Stakes at Navan promised to suit, but she was caught on the inner with no room two out.
That checked all her momentum, but Trethias did did keep on again and was only beaten 5 3/4 lengths. While Pink Dogwood obviously reversed juvenile form with her, there were clear excuses.
Granted better luck in-running, Trethias is sure to improve on her position from Navan as she didn’t have the run of that race.
As she is top on official figures and Racing Post Ratings, the 7/2 with Bethard is well worth considering for Trethias to gain some compensation as the drop back in trip holds no fears.
Titanium Sky looking to confirm form with Hamariyna
Another with claims is Weld’s course winner Titanium Sky at 3/1 with Coral. This daughter of super sprinter Dark Angel was fifth to Pink Dogwood on her sole start as a juvenile over the trip of this at Gowran Park.
When dropped back a furlong on reappearance at this venue, however, Titanium Sky readily scored by 1 1/2 lengths from Silk Forest.
She is 3lb worse off with the third filly home, Hamarinya, and the swing in weights makes this tough up in trip.
Titanium Sky then stepped up into Group 3 company for the Athasi Stakes and weakened close home to finish a 2 1/2 lengths sixth.
As Mick Halford’s Hamarinya has come out and won when stepped up to 1m 1f, she looks the more progressive of the pair.
She has four lengths to find on Titanium Sky, but as Hamarinya is by Sea The Moon dropping back in trip isn’t guaranteed to suit. Her length victory at Tipperary suggests further might be better, but she is 5/1 with Betfair.
O’Brien has a couple of hopefuls in this, but Mona Lisa’s Smile has only one once in eight career starts.
Fire Fly, meanwhile, is one from six but that sole victory came over an extended 7f under a hands and heels ride which was value for more than the neck winning margin.
Soft ground may not have suited this daughter of Galileo when she was a 8 1/2 lengths 10th to Lady Kaya, who was runner-up in the English Classic, in another 1000 Guineas trial here on reappearance.
At 9/1 with Ladbrokes, and Donnacha O’Brien back in saddle, Fire Fly will be suited by the step up in trip and is another worth considering.
Hazapour appeals in Amethyst
The Group 3 Amethyst Stakes (14:15) over a mile sees Weld double-handed in his search for a record eighth winner at the race.
Course winner Hazapour is the top rated and brings leading form claims into the race, so is preferred to Zuenoon.
This four-year-old won the Derby Trial on this card 12 months ago and was a far from disgraced seven-length fifth to Masar in the Epsom Classic itself.
Hazapour then dropped back in trip and grade, and was beaten a length in the Group 3 Meld Stakes by Turret Rocks.
As he’s by legendary miler Shamardal, this distance should suit Hazapour. At 9/4 with Boylesports, he should also come on for his return to action when fifth to thriving filly Magical in the Alleged Stakes at Naas.
Last year’s winner Zibha, meanwhile, no longer gets the 13lb weight-for-age allowance that was key to his victory.
Fozzy Stack’s runner saw runner-up Pinchek reverse the form later in the season and hasn’t gone in again since.
There was, however, lots to like about Zibha’s return to action when a half-a-length runner-up to Imaging in a Listed contest over course and distance, and giving the winner 2lb.
This demands more and Zibha looks worth taking on at 11/4 with William Hill in his bid to win back-to-back renewals.
Zuenoon gets 13lb from his elders for Weld, but is rated 15lb inferior to stable companion Hazapour and in light of that can also be taken on.