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Trading Leather

Trading Leather put up a really nice performance to win the Listed Silver Stakes at The Curragh on Sunday. Settled in second place in the early stages of the race by Kevin Manning, after tacking over to the inside rail from his wide draw, he travelled well in Ansgar’s slipstream to the home turn. It took him a few strides to pick up when his rider asked him early in the home straight, and Lines Of Battle looked a threat as they passed the two-furlong pole, but the son of Teofilo found plenty from that point to pull away and post an impressive victory, getting stronger the closer he got to the winning line and posted a high-class time, the fastest of the day by some way and only just outside standard.

Jim Bolger’s colt won his maiden over a mile at Gowran Park last year as a juvenile, and he battled on tenaciously to land the Group 3 Autumn Stakes at Newmarket on Dewhurst day, leaving the impression that he would be a middle-distance colt this season as a three-year-old more than a miler. That notion is backed up by his breeding, by the Galileo horse Teofilo out of an unraced Sinndar mare. So it is to his immense credit that he had the pace to finish third in the Irish Guineas after setting out to make virtually all.

On his only previous run over 10 furlongs, he had performed more than creditably in finishing second in the Dante at York in May. That run looks even better now than it did at the time, since the Dante winner Libertarian ran such a fine race to finish second in the Derby. Also, that was Trading Leather’s seasonal debut, and his trainer was happy afterwards that he would come on appreciably for the run.

On that evidence, and on the evidence of Sunday’s performance, he should improve again for the step up to a mile and a half and, as such, he is a live Irish Derby candidate now. The Irish Derby is shaping up to be a thriller this season, with the first three from the Epsom Derby probably on track, as well as the Patrick Prendergast-trained Sugar Boy, who beat Libertarian and Galileo Rock in the Classic Trial at Sandown in April. Ruler Of The World sets a very high standard in the Irish Derby but, especially if the ground came up fast at The Curragh in two weeks’ time, Trading Leather would have a big chance of beating him. Current odds of 6/1 about him look big.

9th June 2013