Class Drop For John Leeper

John Leeper and Fletcher Yarham | Emma Berry

Cristina Patino's John Leeper (Ire) (Frankel {GB}) is expected to resurface next Friday at Sandown, where he will take a class drop for the Listed Gala S. over 2000 metres. John Leeper, a son of the multiple Group 1-winning mare Snow Fairy (Ire) (Intikhab), was named a 'TDN Rising Star' when breaking his maiden by four lengths at Newcastle on Apr. 30, and he confirmed himself an exciting prospect with a victory in the May 15 Listed Novice S., where he had the subsequent G2 King Edward VII S. runner-up Tasman Bay (Fr) (Le Havre {Ire}) back in second. John Leeper was given a tall task in the G1 Cazoo Derby next out and beat just two home.

“All being well and everything being equal, we're probably going to go to Sandown next Friday in a listed race over a mile and a quarter and we'll see how we get on there,” said trainer Ed Dunlop. “There is a race in France next weekend for 3-year-olds over a mile and a quarter if I'm not happy with Sandown, but at the moment we're heading to Sandown. We'd like to sort of drop down before going back up again. Sandown is a stiff 10 furlongs, which will suit.”

Reflecting on John Leeper's Derby performance, Dunlop said, “He was a bit keen at Epsom and Frankie suggested we drop him back in trip; this seems an ideal race. We've always thought on pedigree and looks he should stay a mile and a half, but we mustn't forget he's only run four times in his life.

“He did a lot in a month, going from a Newcastle novice to the Derby with a listed race in between. He fell into everyone's dream given his pedigree and being named after my father and people latched on. That dream has gone now, we've moved on and he's a horse we're in no rush with. He should be better as an older horse and we retain utmost faith in him. It didn't happen at Epsom, but the one thing was he didn't have a hard race–when Frankie knew he wasn't going to be involved, he just let him coast home.”

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