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Leopardstown Thursday Preview

The Ballyroan Stakes is the feature race of a good card at Leopardstown on Thursday evening. Aidan O’Brien’s Ernest Hemingway finally began to fulfil his potential when surging clear to win the Curragh Cup by five lengths last month.

The four-year-old son of Galileo has always been well regarded at Ballydoyle but has been slow to mature and the race at the Curragh was only his sixth career start. After coming under pressure two furlongs out, he readily overhauled Royal Diamond and was drawing further away at the finish.

This race is over a two-furlong shorter trip, which may be a slight concern if there is no early pace. Royal Diamond franked the form when comfortably winning in listed company over this course last month.

Jim Bolger’s Scintillula could pose a bigger threat after making all of the running to hold off the challenge of Mars in a Group 3 race over nine furlongs. The three-year-old filly is also by Galileo and had previously finished a close fourth in the Irish Oaks.

The form of that race received a boost at Cork earlier this week when the runner-up Venus De Milo recorded an easy success. Having made her own running last time, Scintillula looks least likely to be inconvenienced by a slow pace.

The meeting opens at 5.15 with Il Palazzo bidding to lose her maiden tag after some consistent efforts. Acting Talent showed plenty of promise on her debut for Dermot Weld and Fire And Flame has also been knocking on the door.

Friendship could make his experience count in the 5.45 with only one of his eight rivals having previously seen a racecourse. The market could be the best guide to the chances of Bolger’s unraced Sar Oiche.

Bolger and Manning have another leading candidate in Mona Brown at 6.15 who is up only 5lbs for a five length win at Naas. Hat-trick seeking Strandfield Lady and Majestic Jasmine could give her most to do.

Tonabrocky represents the Bolger/Manning combination in the 7.20 and has the John Oxx-trained pair of Karlidi and Shouranour to beat. There is a wide open handicap at 7.55 in which course winner Carenza will have her supporters along with the consistent The Black Devil.

The meeting closes at 8.20 with an interesting handicap featuring last time out winners Weather Watch and Mourani. Weather Watch was having only the third start of his career when winning by six lengths here last time and could have more scope for improvement.

Selections: 5.15 Acting Talent, 5.45 Sar Oiche, 6.15 Mona Brown (NAP), 6.45 Scintillula (nb), 7.20 Tonabrocky, 7.55 Carenza, 8.30 Weather Watch