03/28/2011 10:32AM

Guineas preps at Leopardstown fail to uncover a standout


The first two Guineas preps at Leopardstown on Sunday proved to be rather inconclusive affairs as Dunboyne Express took a three-runner Group 3 Leopardstown 2000 Guineas Trial while Empowering and Wild Wind gave Aidan O’Brien a one-two finish in the Group 3 1000 Guineas Trial.

Trained by Kevin Prendergast, Dunboyne Express followed the slow pace of Whipless in third and led at the furlong pole under Daragh McDonogh to take the $67,300 2000 Guineas Trial. The 5-4 favorite, he prevailed by 1 3/4 lengths from Exodus with Whipless fading to third and last, a neck behind the runner-up. The small field cut up even further when 3-2 second choice Cocozza twice sat down in the gate and was scratched. A son of Shamardal, Dunboyne Express traveled the mile on good to yielding ground in a pedestrian 1:41.36. The winner last July of the Group 3 Anglesey Stakes at the Curragh, he will go straight to the Irish 2000 Guineas on May 21.

Empowering, a daughter of the Australian-bred stallion Encosta de Lago, led virtually throughout in winning the $67,300 Leopardstown 1000 Guineas Trial. Ridden by O’Brien’s apprentice son Joe, the 11-2 Empowering held off her stablemate Wild Wind by 1 3/4 lengths, getting the seven furlongs in a tepid 1:29.09. The John Oxx-trained 3-1 favorite History Note came home third, a short head behind Wild Wind. A maiden winner in her third start last time out on the Dundalk Polytrack on Dec. 10, Empowering will take her chance in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket on May 1.