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Layfayette primed for Ballyroan Stakes at Leopardstown

Tue 2 Aug 2022

Noel Meade admits he may be taking a bit of a chance in running Layfayette over a mile and a half but reports his dual group winner to be in fine fettle ahead of his tilt at the Group Three Grant Thornton Ballyroan Stakes at Leopardstown on Thursday.

The five-year-old is the top rated of nine runners in the field and will carry top weight, having begun his season in March with Listed victory over the Ger Lyons-trained Licence, who reopposes, and then added the Group 3 Alleged Stakes and Group 2 Mooresbridge Stakes to his CV.

Those three races were over ten furlongs but Meade’s wish to find out what Layfayette could do over a mile and a half was scuppered to some extent by the good to firm going in the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot which would not have been to the liking of Patricia Hunt’s gelding.

 Lafayette and Oisin Orr after winning the Alleged Stakes (focusonracing.com)
Lafayette and Oisin Orr after winning the Alleged Stakes (focusonracing.com)

So the Tu Va Stables trainer is going to try again on more suitable ground.

“He is in good form but it is hard to find a race that suits so we decided to have a go at this,” said Meade on Tuesday morning. “I don’t know if going a mile and a half again is really ideal but it does look like he’ll have an ease in the ground and that’s a big help.

“Ascot was a bit quick for him. The race was good now too but it looked quick for him.

“He has been brilliant this year for us but there is a bit of doubt now about going into a mile and a half again. I always thought he would be better stepping up but he didn’t seem to get home in Ascot. But maybe that was the ground so we just thought we’d try it again.”

Ben Coen takes the ride for the first time with Colin Keane retained for Licence. Chris Hayes will be on board one of Dermot Weld’s duo Duke De Sessa, a Group Three winner as a juvenile and twice group-placed this season, with Donagh O’Connor recruited for Weld’s Chester Cup winner Falcon Eight. Oisín Orr, who steered Layfayette to his first two triumphs this term, is no longer based in Ireland, now flourishing as retained jockey to Richard Fahey in the north of England.

Falcon Eight’s successor on the Chester Cup roll of honour this year, Cleveland is an interesting contender, on what will be his first run for Joseph O’Brien, having been trained until now by O’Brien’s father, Aidan.

The Melbourne Cup is his long-term target with the Grant Thornton Ballyroan Stakes viewed as an ideal test and Ryan Moore retains the steering responsibilities. O’Brien Jnr also saddles Group 1-winning two-year-old Gear Up, who will have Dylan Browne McMonagle in the plate.

Paddy Twomey has been a trainer to follow all season, in tandem with championship-chasing jockey Billy Lee, and they combine with the unbeaten and still unexposed Beamish, who despite being four has run just three times. The most recent of those came on testing going over this trip at listed level in Roscommon at the end of June.

The field is completed by Sandhurst (Jessica Harrington/Shane Foley) and Manu Et Corde (Jim Bolger/Kevin Manning).

The eight-race programme kicks off at 4.45pm. Additional sponsors supporting the card include Irish EBF, Manguard Plus, Awards & Gifts and Leopardstown Golf Centre. Leopardstown will be supporting Hurling for Cancer with the Hurling for Cancer August 16th Handicap.

Spring Break will take to the stage after racing. Buy One Get One Free tickets available for €22 at www.leopardstown.com along with an array of hospitality options.

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