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IRISH ADMIRAL may have been beaten at York last time, but he moved through that good quality mile-and-a-quarter handicap like the best prospect in the race. He made an eye-catching move down the outside, but was unable to sustain the effort inside the final furlong and had to settle for third.
That was a hugely encouraging display however, and he ought to be well suited by dropping in trip here. That was just his second start since joining William Haggas’s powerhouse stable and there could be a much bigger effort in his locker.
ZEYAADAH was successful on all three starts last season and was especially impressive on her final start of the campaign in the listed Montrose Stakes at Newmarket. She faced a stiff task on her return in the Cheshire Oaks, carrying a 3lbs penalty and up against a talented and experienced rival in Dubai Fountain.
Zeyaadah had to settle for second behind Dubai Fountain, but she emerged as just about the best filly at the weights and may well have won had she not met trouble at a crucial stage. The way she kept on when in the clear was encouraging and she pulled four-and-three-quarter lengths clear of the third. She has shown significant run-by-run improvement and it is unlikely that she has reached her limit after only four starts, so her claims look strong.
PATIENT DREAM failed to progress after winning a median auction stakes at Lingfield last summer, but he was well backed on his return here in April and justified that support. He was strong at the finish of that race over an extended mile, suggesting that he ought to relish the extra couple of furlongs on offer.
His pedigree also indicates that he will improve for this step up in trip as he is by Al Kazeem and is a half-sister to the smart middle-distance performer Kissable. Champion jockey Oisin Murphy takes over in the saddle, trainer Ralph Beckett has his horses in superb form and Patient Dream has already shown his effectiveness around this unique course, so he has plenty in his favour.
When Serpentine provided Aidan O’Brien with an eighth Derby victory, he was one of six runners hailing from Ballydoyle. This year O’Brien relies on short-price favourite BOLSHOI BALLET, who has followed the same route to Epsom as his sire Galileo – O’Brien’s first Derby winner 20 years ago. Bolshoi Ballet made his reappearance in the Ballysax Stakes and registered a smooth success.
It wasn’t achieved in a fast time though, so there were some questions about the merit of the performance. Those concerns were answered in no uncertain terms in the Derrinstown however, as Bolshoi Ballet put up the best performance by a three-year-old this season – slamming Lough Derg by 6 lengths in a good time.
Both of those wins at Leopardstown were achieved over a mile-and-a-quarter, but Bolshoi Ballet is stoutly bred and looks sure to appreciate this longer distance. He is also a fluent mover, so will be suited by the sound underfoot conditions. He is a worthy favourite who should prove difficult to beat.
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