03/26/2009 11:00PM

Intense Focus heads Guineas Trial


Intense Focus may have a class edge in the $90,000 Leopardstown 2000 Guineas Trial on Sunday when he makes his 3-year-old debut in this one-mile, Group 3 classic prep.

A Giant's Causeway colt, Intense Focus gave his trainer, Jim Bolger, his third successive victory in Europe's definitive juvenile race, the seven-furlong Dewhurst Stakes on Oct. 18 at Newmarket, following in the footsteps of European 2-year-old champions Teofilo and New Approach. While not quite in the same class as those two, Intense Focus merits even-money favoritism.

Aidan O'Brien will saddle a pair of contenders in Born to Be King, who won his maiden third time out at Gowran Park in August, and Hail Caesar, a Tipperary maiden winner. The Kevin Prendergast-trained Recharge finished in front of Hail Caesar when fourth in the Group 2 Beresford Stakes last time on Sept. 28 and may prove the biggest threat to the favorite.

* Heart Shaped just barely failed to get up in time when he was a nose second to Maram in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf. The half sister to A P Valentine trained by O'Brien heads a field of 11 fillies in the $90,000 Leopardstown 1000 Guineas Trial, a seven-furlong, Group 3 race in which she will face a stern challenge from Chintz, winner of the seven-furlong, Group 3 Park Stakes at the Curragh on Sept. 28.