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Express books Curragh ticket

Dunboyne Express is likely to head straight for the Irish 2000 Guineas after bouncing back to form on his seasonal debut at Leopardstown.

The Kevin Prendergast-trained colt, who was found to be ill after losing his unbeaten record in the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster in October, enjoyed a facile success in the Leopardstown 2,000 Guineas Trial.

His task was made easier when his main market rival, the John Oxx-trained Cocozza, was withdrawn after sitting down in the stalls, delaying the start by nearly 10 minutes.

Whipless made the running from Exodus with Dunboyne Express (5-4 favourite) last of the three starters.

The order stayed the same until the short straight where Declan McDonogh pounced aboard Prendergast's charge to score by a length and three-quarters from Exodus.

There was a deduction of 40p in the pound on all bets.

Prendergast said: "That was a satisfactory performance.

"The run should bring him on a good bit. He wasn't right before Doncaster and he had colic after it."



Gamble

Prendergast completed a double when Celtic Dane (14-1) denied the favourite Gimli's Rock by a short head in the Follow Leopardstown on Facebook Handicap, giving Samantha Bell her first winner from just three rides.

Empowering (11-2) landed a gamble to secure an O'Brien family triumph in the Leopardstown 1,000 Guineas Trial.

The filly was ridden by Joseph O'Brien, trained by his father Aidan and owned by his mother Anne-Marie.

"I'm delighted for the filly. Joseph has always liked her," O'Brien said.

"He was always full of praise about her and confident in her. She's a very well-bred filly, so it's a lovely result.

"She's in the English Guineas and that's very possible."

Ladbrokes trimmed Empowering to 25-1 from 40s for the Qipco 1000 Guineas at Newmarket on May 1.

Despite the disappointment of Cocozza, Johnny Murtagh celebrated his return as number one jockey to the Aga Khan and Oxx with a 371/2-1 double on Mesariya and Haziyna.

Mesariya (6-1) earned a 25-1 quote for the Investec Oaks with Ladbrokes when making a successful debut in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Maiden.

Haziyna (9-2) ran out an easy winner of the Leopardstown Family Fun Racedays Handicap, opening her account by three and a half lengths from Flavia Tatiana.