/ Racing

John F Kennedy out to make Classic statement

Updated: Saturday, 11 Apr 2015 14:06 | Comments

John F Kennedy faces only two rivals in the Ballysax
John F Kennedy faces only two rivals in the Ballysax

On a big day of trials at Leopardstown, most eyes will be focused on current Derby favourite John F Kennedy as he starts on his journey to Epsom in the PW McGrath Memorial Ballysax Stakes.

The presence of Aidan O'Brien's colt, who landed a Group Three at this track on his final start as a juvenile, appears to have scared off the opposition, with only Ken Condon's Cork winner Success Days and Dermot Weld's Zafilani taking on the hugely promising son of Galileo.

O'Brien has only won the Ballysax once in the last five years but that is unlikely to deter the supporters of John F Kennedy, while the master of Ballydoyle has a much better recent record in the other Group Three on the card, the Leopardstown 1,000 Guineas Trial Stakes.

With three wins in the last four years, O'Brien is saddling Qualify and Toogoodtobetrue in a bid to augment that record, but they face stiff challenges all around, most notably in Weld's Stormfly.

Although behind Qualify at the end of last season, the Dark Angel filly has the benefit of a recent run on her side having struck at the Curragh.

Weld also saddles the once-raced Zawraq in the Leopardstown 2,000 Guineas Trial Stakes, where he faces O'Brien's Jamaica and a trio of runners from the Godolphin operation.

Jim Bolger saddles dual winner Parish Boy as well as Mesmerism, but perhaps of greater interest is Portage, who chased home a smart sort of O'Brien's on his debut before scoring on his final start of the season at the Curragh.

O'Brien and Weld lock horns in the opening Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Maiden, with Weld's Zannda taking on Belong and Wedding Vow from the O'Brien battalions.

Weld also saddles Zafayan in the Leopardstown Club 25 Membership Handicap and Sierra Sun in the Racecourse Of The Year Handicap, while the Follow Leopardstown On Facebook Handicap could be between Oor Jock and Abushamah.

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