Rain sees JFK switch from Derrinstown to the Dante

Elm Park: looked every inch a Derby contender when winning the Racing Post Trophy last October

Elm Park: won the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster last season

  PICTURE: Martin Lynch (racingpost.com/photos)  

JOHN F KENNEDY will attempt to get his Investec Derby hopes back on track in the Dante Stakes at York on Thursday rather than in Sunday’s Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at Leopardstown.

The winter favourite for the Epsom Classic had been expected to run in Sunday’s 1m2f Group 3, but poor weather in Ireland on Friday changed Aidan O’Brien’s running plans for the colt.

The trainer said: “We decided against running him as the ground is going to be very soft and he didn’t handle those conditions in the Ballysax Stakes last month.”

John F Kennedy’s Derby ambitions took a serious blow when he could manage only a distant third of three runners behind Success Days on his seasonal reappearance at the Dublin track.

The son of Galileo and Moyglare Stakes winner Rumpelstiltskin is a best-priced 10-1 for the Derby at Epsom on June 6. He could be joined at York next week by stablemate Ol’ Man River, who disappointed in the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket last Saturday.

Last year’s Racing Post Trophy winner Elm Park is another on course to prep for Epsom in the Dante.

The Andrew Balding-trained colt, a best-priced 10-1 for the Derby, was pulled out of his intended reappearance on the morning of last Saturday’s 2,000 Guineas with concerns the ground would have been too quick.

Derby favourite Jack Hobbs is also entered and is one of two possible runners for trainer John Gosden, along with Feilden Stakes winner Golden Horn.

Hugo Lascelles, racing manager to owner Anthony Oppenheimer, said: “Golden Horn is on course for the Dante and at the moment has the French Derby on his radar, for which he is already entered. We’ll see how he goes at York but whether he is added to the Derby is entirely up to the owner.”

Sir Michael Stoute will be hoping Bragging can build on last week’s win in the Charm Spirit Dahlia Stakes at Newmarket with victory in the Group 2 Middleton Stakes on Thursday.

She will face stiff competition in the form of David Simcock’s Madame Chiang, an impressive winner of last season’s Group 1 Qipco British Champions Mares and Fillies stakes.

The most obvious absentee missing from the Group 2 is Rizeena, who ran disappointingly to finish seventh behind Bragging last time out.

Order Of St George had originally been pencilled in for Saturday’s Derby Trial at Lingfield, but the anticipated softer going at Leopardstown will see him head Ballydoyle’s two-pronged assault on the Derrinstown.

Winner of a mile maiden at the track as a juvenile, he will be joined by stablemate and recent Naas maiden winner Cradle Mountain.

They face Ken Condon’s Ballysax winner Success Days, Summaya from the Dermot Weld yard who beat Chester winner Hans Holbein first time out this season, and Carbon Dating.

Nessa Joyce, racing manager at Leopardstown, said: “The ground was soft on Friday morning and I am happy the track will be able to take whatever rain we get. The forecast for Saturday and Sunday is better. There seems to be a pick up in temperature and both days should be dry, with an outside chance of showers on Saturday.”


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