04/11/2003 12:00AM

Pride of Irish 3-year-olds start up


A number of Ireland's most promising 3-year-olds make their 2003 debuts Sunday at Leopardstown's classic trials meeting.

Alberto Giacometti, the unbeaten Aidan O'Brien-trained winner of the 1 1/4-mile Group 1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud in November, is the headline attraction in the 1 1/4-mile Group 3 Ballysax Stakes. He faces another undefeated colt, the John Oxx-trained Alamshar, winner of the one-mile Group 3 Beresford Stakes over the highly regarded Brian Boru in October. The Ballysax has been used successfully by O'Brien as a re-entry point for the last two Epsom and Irish Derby winners, High Chaparral and Galileo.

Brian Boru went on to take the one-mile Group 1 Racing Post Trophy and was expected to run in the Ballysax, but a clerical error in O'Brien's Ballydoyle office inadvertently left him off the entry list. Instead, Brian Boru, a son of Sadler's Wells, will work after the races in company with two or three stablemates.

Meanwhile, Refuse to Bend faces a difficult task in the listed one-mile 2000 Guineas Trial. Because he won the Group 1 National Stakes last September, the Dermot Weld-trained Refuse to Bend, a half-brother to Melbourne Cup winner Media Puzzle, must spot seven pounds to Some Kind of Tiger, a maiden winner who is a three-quarters brother to 1994 European Horse of the Year Balanchine.