Alexandroupois Centre Stage On Sunday

Aidan O'Brien has several stars set for their 2023 bows on Sunday | Emma Berry


Providing it survives a morning inspection, with the ground currently heavy and more rain forecast, Leopardstown's intriguing Sunday fixture will see a trio of Classic trials flooded with a big Ballydoyle presence including the exciting 'TDN Rising Star' Alexandroupolis (Ire) (Camelot {GB}). Due to make his eagerly-awaited second career start in the G3 P W McGrath Memorial Ballysax S., the centre of much attention at Rosegreen oozed class when beating his talented stablemate and eventual G1 Criterium International runner-up Espionage (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) in the extended mile maiden at Galway in September won by the yard's Kyprios (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) two years earlier.

Moore's Choice…

From the family of Kew Gardens (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}), staying is going to be Alexandroupolis's game and Ryan Moore places his confidence in him ahead of the unlucky Criterium Arqana runner-up Denmark (GB) (Camelot {GB}) and Mohawk Chief (Quality Road), who captured the seven-furlong Leopardstown maiden in October won by the stable's former talented Galileo duo Cliffs Of Moher (Ire) and Star Of India (Ire). Surprisingly, this renowned Derby trial has only supplied the Blue Riband winner once since 2002 and that was Harzand (Ire) (Sea The Stars {Ire}), not among the 11 Aidan O'Brien-trained colts to prevail which include subsequent Epsom heroes Galileo (Ire) and High Chaparral (Ire).

A Familiar Tale

O'Brien and Moore combine earlier on the card with another 'TDN Rising Star' in Hans Andersen (GB) (Frankel {GB}) in the G3 Ballylinch Stud “Red Rocks” 2000 Guineas Trial S., which unlike the proceeding G3 Ballylinch Stud “Priory Belle” 1000 Guineas Trial S. is light on overall quality. Ridden too forcefully when second in the G2 Futurity S. at The Curragh in August, Hans Andersen again did too much early when fifth in the G1 Vincent O'Brien National S. behind Al Riffa (Fr) (Wootton Bassett {GB}). Given that he had beaten that peer in his maiden at the Currragh, more patient tactics might see him regain his spark in a weak-looking renewal of this recently-upgraded contest.

The Story Is Still Young…

If the 2000 Trial lacks strength-in-depth, that cannot be said of the following 1000 Guineas Trial which could have a bearing on the picture for the Newmarket Classic and again it is Ballydoyle who feature prominently with the G3 Silver Flash S. winner and G1 Prix Marcel Boussac third Never Ending Story (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}). Bearing in mind the improvement her dam Athena (Ire) (Camelot {GB}) found from two to three, it could be that she is still some way off a peak and it would be no surprise if she can make a leap as the 2005 winner Virginia Waters (Kingmambo) did from here to Newmarket. The stable also has the 10-length Naas maiden winner Dame Kiri (Justify), while opposition to Ballydoyle includes Martin Schwartz's highly-regarded Roscommon auction series race scorer Impact Warrior (Ire) (Saxon Warrior {Jpn}) and John Oxley's Naas maiden winner Madly Truly (Ire) (Cracksman {GB}) from the always-to-be-respected Paddy Twomey and Joseph O'Brien stables, respectively.

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