Lyons ponders Leopardstown return for Obliterator

Ger Lyons will wait until later in the week before deciding whether to let exciting colt Obliterator make his seasonal return in Sunday’s Leopardstown 2,000 Guineas Trial.

As a half-brother to Just The Judge, runner-up in last year’s 1000 Guineas before claiming Classic glory in the Curragh equivalent, the Qatar Racing-owned Obliterator is bred to be smart and made an impressive debut at the Curragh last September.

Lyons is eyeing up a tilt at the Qipco 2000 Guineas at Newmarket on May 3 with his son of Oratorio and will only run him beforehand if conditions are suitable.

Lyons said: “He wouldn’t run if the ground was very soft and we’re just having a look at the race on Sunday at this stage.

“Leopardstown is a funny track as even if the ground is soft everywhere else, sometimes it doesn’t get too bad there, so we’ll play it by ear. There aren’t many options for him.

“The Guineas at Newmarket is the plan. Whether he is good enough or not, only time will tell, but we like what we see from him.

“He’s in a good place at the moment and exactly where we want him to be.

“He’s ready to go away, but if we don’t get a run in him between now and the Guineas it wouldn’t be the end of the world, as he won first time out.

“We have a nice bunch of horses this year and some nice unraced three-year-olds, but he would probably be our main hope for the season at this stage.”

Obliterator is one of 14 entries for Sunday’s Listed contest, with Aidan O’Brien responsible for Adelaide, Buonarroti and Indian Maharaja.

Paul Deegan has both Prince Of All and Shining Emerald in contention, while the only British-trained entry is Mark Johnston’s Bow Creek.

Other contenders include David Wachman’s Quadrivium and the John Oxx-trained Ebanoran.

Meanwhile, runaway Dundalk maiden winner Harry’s Princess is set to test the water at Pattern level in the Leopardstown 1,000 Guineas Trial.

The daughter of Strategic Prince did not make her juvenile debut until November, but it was worth the wait as she pulled four and a half lengths clear of her nearest pursuer without being extended in the hands of Declan McDonogh.

Trainer John Oxx acknowledges the fact his three-year-old will face a far tougher assignment in this weekend’s Group Three contest, but is keen to find out whether she can compete in this company.

Oxx said: “She had a little setback in February, but she seems to have come on well since then and is a nice filly.

“She won her maiden on the all-weather at Dundalk. It was probably only an average race, but she won well and we’re keen to see how she goes in better company.”

Harry’s Princess is one of 12 entries for the seven-furlong contest, with Aidan O’Brien unsurprisingly holding a formidable hand.

The master of Ballydoyle has saddled a record eight previous winners and could this year be represented by Adeste Fideles, Bracelet, Marvellous and Sparrow.

Dermot Weld could run Balansiya and Lanyard, Jim Bolger has both Intense Debate and Tirghra in contention while Paul Deegan’s Avenue Gabriel is another possible runner.

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