All eyes on Tirmizi at Leopardstown

Epsom Derby attention could switch from Aidan O’Brien to Dermot Weld should the Sea The Stars colt oblige

 Trainer Dermot Weld has directed Tirmizi at today’s Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial  at Leopardstown, a race he describes as, “one of the best classic trials in Europe”. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Trainer Dermot Weld has directed Tirmizi at today’s Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at Leopardstown, a race he describes as, “one of the best classic trials in Europe”. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

 

Aidan O’Brien has been the focus of expectation in terms of supplying a colt to put his stamp on the Derby, but with just four weeks to Epsom, attention could switch to Dermot Weld should Tirmizi land Sunday’s Group 3 feature at Leopardstown.

The Aga Khan took the Derrinstown Derby Trial with Sinndar en route to Derby glory 16 years ago, and his famous colours will be carried by Tirmizi against seven opponents, including four from Ballydoyle.

Minding still looks the season’s most outstanding three-year-old so far, after US Army Ranger’s Chester Vase hardly had anyone brimming over with enthusiasm, and Landofhopeandglory in Saturday’s Lingfield Trial currently looks second-division.

This Thursday’s Dante may yet be a last throw-of-the dice, with five O’Brien entries, including Deauville.

However, they are all behind Midterm and Foundation in early betting for the York trial, which makes the Derrinstown potentially both significant and complex, considering Ryan Moore is, surprisingly, down to ride the Craven third, Shogun.

It has been Idaho who has been a 16-1 third favourite in straight betting for the Derby in recent days, on the back of his encouraging second to Harzand in the Ballysax last month, but he will be ridden by Seamus Heffernan.

With Richard Hannon’s Fielden Stakes winner Ventura Storm travelling for the race, there is a potentially important cross-channel form link in the offing. But in a desperately unclear betting situation, perhaps the most significant price in Sunday’s context is Ladbrokes’ 16-1 about Tirmizi for Epsom. That is half what other firms go about the Sea The Stars colt, who won his sole start at the track at the end of last season.

Ear to the ground

It’s been 14 years since the Derrinstown produced the Derby winner, but Weld’s tally of eight winners is second only to O’Brien’s 10, and he regards Tirmizi highly, even if, physically, he may not be an obvious Epsom candidate.

“He’s a huge big colt, but he’s progressive and he wants good ground,” Weld said.

Ground conditions at Leopardstown are currently “good” ahead of a weekend that could bring showers. The track’s famously quick drying surface could yet turn against Kieren Fallon’s mount Now Or Never in the 1,000 Guineas Trial.

Ryan Moore is on King Of Magic for Ballydoyle, but a better surface could prove significant to the first-time blinkered Emergent.

In what could turn out to be a good day for the Weld team, newcomer Mounira looks an interesting starter in the mile and a half maiden. The half-sister to former good stayer, Mourayan, holds an Irish Oaks entry.

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