Brendan Duke: It’s time for Broome to prove he’s a live Derby prospect

There's a few reputations on the line at Leopardstown - including Dukey's.

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Both Guineas passed me by last weekend. Madhmoon was the closest any of my picks got. He ran a good race. It’s hard to believe there wasn’t some sort of bias at play in that race. Kevin Prendergast’s charge was a close second on his side. He looked to be a little tapped for toe in the middle part of the race. The Epsom Derby is his next target. The 1m 4f trip is a concern. His sire, Dawn Approach, actually has a fine strike rate with his runners at 12 furlongs and beyond. However, not many of his progeny have tried those trips, so it’s probably not something we should pay undue attention to at this stage. Still, as Derby trials go, Madhmoon’s Guineas run was very promising.

Sir Dragonet has surged to the head of the Derby market. His Chester win was impressive. He was understandably green early on. His move to sweep around, and away from, the opposition was one of a classy performer. Whether he will be ready for the Derby is another matter. It will only be his third start, and quicker ground is probable. He will also have to cope with a much bigger field. It might just prove too much for such an inexperienced horse. This weekend, and the Dante at York, should provide clarity on the identity of the major Derby players.

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It will be interesting to see how Broome goes in the betting for the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at Leopardstown on Sunday 15.25). I expect him to open up as an odds-on favourite. He bolted up in the Ballysax over course and distance last month. Three of his victims that day reoppose. I find it very hard to see any of them reversing the form.

The layers will be pinning their hopes on a couple of things. Two unexposed types in Buckhurst and Rakan. They’re in the ‘could be anything’ category, but will need a massive step forward to prevail. Perhaps the most significant opposition to Broome will come from ardent clock watchers. Post race sectional analysis strongly suggested that Broome was the beneficiary of being held up in a race where the leaders went off way too fast.

That’s entirely possible. He did seem to face little or no resistance when he made his move. It was noticeable how well Broome had done physically before that race. He’s really strengthened up over the winter. He was highly progressive last term, culminating with a close second in Group 1 company. That form was a long way ahead of anything achieved by Sunday’s opposition. I expect Broome to confirm the form. It wouldn’t shock me if he touched even money at some stage. That would look a more than fair price.


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It’s an interesting card on Sunday. There are three group races in total. Zihba in the 14.15 and Titanium Sky in the 14.50 would be my selections in the other two. Neither race gets me that excited from a betting point of view mind.

One that does get the punting juices flowing is Operatic Export in the fillies handicap (16.00). She won a maiden at the course in August. She beat a solid yardstick that day. There was a bit of word about before her seasonal bow in a 1000 Guineas trial. It was easy to see why.

She had done particularly well physically over the winter. I was expecting a big run. She finished last. I can’t believe that was her running. She steps up in trip on Sunday. That will likely suit. Her dismal return should ensure we get decent odds. A mark of 92 could easily underestimate her. It’s worth chancing that she can bounce back.

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What do you think?