03/26/2010 12:00AM

Free Judgement faces tough pair from O'Brien barn


Free Judgement will attempt to pick up where he left off last October on Sunday, when he should go off as the mild favorite in the Group 3, $66,000 Leopardstown 2000 Guineas Trial. A son of Vindication trained by Jim Bolger, Free Judgement won the seven-furlong, Group 3 Killavullan Stakes in his latest start at Leopardstown last fall and should be able to handle this step up to a mile. Kevin Manning will ride.

But two classic hopefuls trained by Aidan O'Brien stand in his way. Viscount Nelson, last seen finishing eighth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf, when he lost five lengths at the start, is better judged on his second-place finish in Doncaster's seven-furlong, Group 2 Champagne Stakes. A Giant's Causeway colt who is half-brother to juvenile group race winners Horatio Nelson and Kitty Matcham, Viscount Nelson will be ridden by Colm O'Donoghue. Johnny Murtagh has opted for the O'Brien-trained Black Quartz, who won a maiden and a handicap in his last two starts as a 2-year-old.

O'Brien holds a strong hand in the seven-furlong filly equivalent, the Group 3, $66,000 Leopardstown 1000 Guineas Trial. Famous, a half-sister to Irish 2000 Guineas and St. James's Palace Stakes winner Mastercraftsman, was second in the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes and a close fourth in the $2.3 million Goffs Million Mile against colts. A Danehill Dancer filly, she is the choice of Murtagh, while Jamie Heffernan will ride You'll Be Mine, a daughter of Kingmambo and English and Irish Oaks runner-up Quarter Moon. You'll Be Mine closed out her juvenile campaign with a third-place finish in the Group 1 Fillies Mile at Ascot.

Paul Deegan will saddle Lady Springbank. A daughter of the star Australian sprinter Choisir, she sprung an 18-1 upset in the seven-furlong, Group 3 Park Stakes at the Curragh in her last start on Sept. 27.