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Leopardstown Thursday Preview

Aidan O’Brien has had many top class racehorses at Ballydoyle but there is no disguising his excitement at the arrival of Darwin from the United States. The son of Big Brown raced only twice before joining O’Brien but has won both starts for his new stable in impressive fashion.

The first of those came at Naas where he comfortably accounted for Fighter Squadron by two and a quarter lengths. He was then stepped up to Group 3 company for the Minstrel Stakes at the Curragh and beat Gordon Lord Byron and Leitir Mor decisively over seven furlongs.

Both horses reoppose over a mile here but it is difficult to see the form being reversed. Gordon Lord Byron has mostly been campaigned at 6-7 furlongs and may find his stamina stretched here whilst Leitir Mor has been on the go all season.

Jessica Harrington’s Royal Blue Star won the Platinum Stakes at Cork last time out and could run into a place. One Spirit had decent form last season but has not been seen since September and may just need this outing to put him straight.

The meeting gets under way at 5.20 with Three D Alexander expected to take the maiden race at the expense of Trikala. David Wachman’s filly was only a length and a quarter behind 1000 Guineas hope Tapestry on her debut and that form looks outstanding here.

So Devoted ran well when second last week at the Curragh and can go one better in the 5.50. The consistent Bangalore Diamond and Penny Serenade may give her most to do.

Polished Rock stayed on well last time over this course and should go well in the 6.20. The biggest danger may come from Shalaman who got the better of a tussle with subsequent winner Positive Vibes at Killarney.

Aidan O’Brien introduces two sons of Galileo in the maiden race at 6.55 in Kingfisher and Orchestra. Johnny Murtagh’s Urban Moon was beaten seven lengths by Indian Maharaja last month but that horse has won again since.

A maximum field of 18 turnout for the Sovereign Path Handicap at 7.55 with the weights headed by hat-trick seeking Eastern Rules. The veteran Maundy Money is on a four-timer whilst Dermot Weld’s Northern Rocked is a course and distance winner.

However, the one to be on could be David Marnane’s Jamesie who takes a drop in class after running at Royal Ascot. He was beaten just over four lengths in the valuable Victoria Cup earlier in the season and could be up to winning this.

Acting Talent was beaten in a three-way photo last week and can get her head in front where it matters in the closing race at 8.25. The O’Brien pair of Il Palazzo and Nymph could be good enough to fill the places.

Selections: 5.20 Three D Alexander (nb), 5.50 So Devoted, 6.20 Polished Rock, 6.55 Kingfisher, 7.25 Darwin (NAP), 7.55 Jamesie, 8.25 Acting Talent