Bolger unleashes some of his Classic prospects at Leopardstown
Trading Leather may use Ballysax Stakes as Epsom Derby trial
Dawn Approach is the headline act but a first sighting of Jim Bolger’s team of potential Classic colts could be made at Leopardstown on Sunday with the Derby prospect Trading Leather in contention to run in the PW McGrath Ballysax Stakes.
Bolger has won the traditional Group Three trial – the kick-off to Classic campaigns for Galileo, Sinndar and other star names in the past – a record seven times , including the last three renewals.
The in-form trainer has three of the 14 names left in the 10-furlong event after yesterday’s forfeit stage, including Trading Leather, described by Bolger recently as a potential Derby candidate.
The Group Three-winning colt wound up last season out of the money in the Racing Post Trophy behind Kingsbarns but is a general 25/1 shot for Epsom, and remains part of a hugely-impressive string of potential top-notchers at Bolger’s Co Carlow yard.
The unbeaten Dawn Approach is continuing his build-up to an eagerly-awaited reappearance in the Newmarket 2,000 Guineas in less than four weeks time while Leitir Mor, a possible for the French Guineas, is entered this Sunday in the Listed Trial at Leopardstown.
Trading Leather has also been entered for the shorter race. The Criterium-International winner Loch Garman is another Bolger star with Classic ambitions this season.
Aidan O’Brien has consistently used the Ballysax as a starting point for his top Derby hopes and has six remaining this time, including the Beresford winner Battle Of Marengo and the highly-touted The United States.
The latter won his only start by a head last year yet is as low as 16/1 for Epsom, the same ante-post price as his stable-companion, who defeated Trading Leather on Champion Stakes day at Leopardstown last September.
O’Brien has also left The United States, and the Breeders’ Cup winner George Vancouver in the Listed 2,000 Guineas Trial on Sunday while top English trainer Richard Hannon has thrown the cat among the pigeons in the Group Three 1,000 Trial by leaving in the Moyglare winner Sky Lantern.
The highly-rated grey, unlucky in running at the Breeders’ Cup, is as low as 12/1 for Classic glory at Newmarket at the start of next month.
Ground conditions at Leopardstown were mostly “good” yesterday ahead of a card that also includes the Listed Hermitage Stakes. A dozen remain in the mile heat including the Lincolnshire winner Sweet Lightning and last year’s Ballysax hero, Light Heavy.