Joseph O'Brien Runners Preview: Some good chances at Leopardstown on Saturday
Joseph O'Brien's main focus will be on the Flat on Saturday as he saddles nine runners at Leopardstown including last season's Group 1-winning filly Iridessa...
"It will hopefully be a long and successful season for her, so hopefully she can make a positive start and run a nice race."
Joseph O'Brien on Iridessa
One runner on Grand National day at Aintree
Arkle runner-up should be bang there
15:00 - Us And Them
Us And Them has had a great season. He has been a model of consistency and has finished second in his last three starts in Grade 1 races. His most recent run in the Arkle Challenge Trophy was a big effort as he got squeezed out during the standing start and ended up further back than planned. This looks to be the weakest Grade 1 he has contested and if he brings his best form to the table then he should be bang there at the finish.
Nine runners on a quality day of racing at Leopardstown
Buckhurst the pick but he'll benefit for the run
13:40 - Buckhurst, Rehoboth Beach and Severus Alexander
Buckhurst is by Australia and is from the family of The Gurkha and Solemia. This is his first start and mine always need the experience on their debuts. If they win first time out, they tend to be smart or else the race was weak! This fella shows plenty of ability at home, but I'd say he'll end up over middle distances and will prefer firmer ground than he'll get here. The hope will be that he gets a good first experience of a race and shows promise with a view to the future. Anything after that would be a bonus.
Rehoboth Beach showed a bit of promise on his debut at Dundalk, but would need to improve a lot from that to get in the mix here.
Severus Alexander didn't show much on debut at Dundalk and will hopefully show some bit of promise.
Long season ahead but Iridessa is one of our stars
Leopardstown 14:45 - Iridessa, Elleanthus and Rainbow Moonstone
Iridessa was one of our stars of last season, winning the Fillies' Mile at Newmarket. Based on that, the hope is that she'll be a Classic contender this season and she's ready to start off. She had an away day at the Curragh last week, but I'd expect her to come on well from whatever she does here. She has to carry a 3lb penalty, meets a couple of high-class fillies and the ground is softer than ideal for her, so it looks a tough enough task for her. It will hopefully be a long and successful season for her, so hopefully she can make a positive start and run a nice race.
Elleanthus won a maiden at the Galway last season and came up just short in her pursuit of black type later in the season. She has plenty to find with the market leaders, but she will enjoy the ground and hopefully she can make a positive start to her season.
Rainbow Moonstone was disappointing on her debut when I probably ran her over the wrong trip, but we dropped her back to six furlongs for her second start and she won a maiden at Naas. This is a big step up in class for her, but she'll enjoy the soft ground and all being well she'll take a good step forward.
Learning experience for Jupiter but King's should run well
Leopardstown 16:25 - Jupiter Road and King's Vow
Jupiter Road has taken a good step forward with each of his three starts. He faces a very different test here, as it is his handicap debut, his first run on turf and he's stepping up to a mile-and-a-quarter. The soft ground is also an unknown with him. It'll be a learning experience for him and hopefully he'll run well.
King's Vow took a while to realise what it was all about last season, but he was helped by the application of blinkers and won his final start of the year at Dundalk. He has always looked like one that would be suited by stepping up to this sort of trip and while he'll come on from this first run back, he should run a good race.
Return to turf should help
Leopardstown 16:55 - Heir Of Excitement
He is a horse we bought cheaply at the sales last year and he has shown some promise in both his starts for us. He has done all his winning on turf and has won on soft ground too, so hopefully the switch back to turf will be a help to him. His draw doesn't look great on paper, but by the end of the card it wouldn't be a surprise if the field start to race wide in search of fresher ground and his draw might not be all that bad.
For more from Joseph, check out our latest exclusive video preview