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John Oxx on Classic fact-finding mission at Leopardstown

Updated: Friday, 28 Mar 2014 18:02 | Comments

John Oxx bids for a fifth win in the Leopardstown 2,000 Guineas Trial on Sunday
John Oxx bids for a fifth win in the Leopardstown 2,000 Guineas Trial on Sunday

John Oxx is keen to find out whether Ebanoran can develop into a realistic Classic contender by running in the Leopardstown 2,000 Guineas Trial on Sunday.

The three-year-old has plenty of speed in his pedigree as a son of champion sprinter Oasis Dream, but he is out of former Oxx-trained mare Ebadiyla, who won the Prix Royal-Oak at Longchamp over a distance of almost two miles.

The Currabeg maestro admits he is unsure what trip Ebanoran is likely to excel over in the long-term, but he won his maiden at the Curragh over seven furlongs and connections want to know whether he is a potential candidate for top honours.

Oxx said: "It looks a good entry with lots of horses who won their maidens well last year and it is time to find out how good they are now.

"Our horse is working nicely and although he didn't win his maiden by far, he won it nicely enough.

"It's hard to know what to make of his pedigree as he's by Oasis Dream out of a mare who won the Prix Royal-Oak for us, so you can look at it both ways.

"He looks a mile to a mile and a quarter horse to me and we're pleased with him.

"I think he likes nice ground, but he should handle a bit of ease as well."

Ebanoran is one of 10 runners declared for the one-mile Listed contest, with the Aidan O'Brien-trained Indian Maharaja taking top billing.

The Galileo colt looked the part in winning his maiden at Gowran Park and a Listed prize at Tipperary last summer and unsurprisingly holds multiple Classic entries.

The Ballydoyle handler also saddles Buonarroti, last seen finishing fifth in the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster.

The highest-rated horse in the field is Paul Deegan's Shining Emerald, whose two juvenile victories and a close third in the Group Three Killavullan Stakes at Leopardstown earned him a mark of 110.

Deegan said: "He's in good form, we're looking forward to getting him started and he won't mind the ground.

"He's more exposed than some of the other horses in the race and whether he warrants the rating he's got on what he's achieved I don't know.

"He's not the biggest horse in the world, but he's got stronger and filled out since last season, so we'll see how we go."

The David Wachman-trained Quadrivium won on the all-weather at Dundalk on his only appearance last season and steps up in class on his return.

Alan Cooper, racing manager for owners Flaxman Stables, said: "He's wintered well and we are expecting him to run a nice race.

"He is among those who are lacking in terms of experience, but he is an improving sort and we will see where we are after the race on Sunday."

Andrew Oliver's All Set To Go ran with credit in good company as a two-year-old, while Dermot Weld turns Go For Goal out just a week after finishing a close second in a Curragh handicap.

John Murphy's Davids Park, Jim Bolger's Stirabout and Pat Flynn's likely outsider Highly Toxic complete the field.

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