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Istan to prevail for Team O'Brien in modest feature at Fairyhouse

Racing Prospects

By Johnny Ward

Donnacha O'Brien secured his first Group One winner recently as a rider and he can add further pattern-race glory to his list of achievements at Fairyhouse today.

Aidan O'Brien's younger son gets the mount on Istan in the feature Listed Blenheim Stakes.

This could not be deemed an especially deep edition, with nothing in the race rated higher than 98. That is the mark of Leo Minor, which on the face of it is the main Aidan O'Brien runner, as Seamus Heffernan is in the plate.

The performances of Roly Poly and Brave Anna on Saturday reiterated the class that War Front can implant in his stock. However, there is no getting away from his progeny's established liking for nice ground and Leo Minor certainly will not encounter that at Fairyhouse.

That he is declared to run at all is somewhat surprising and perhaps the trainer believes he will cope with soft terrain as the dam did. However, it must rate a concern and Istan is a hopeful alternative.

Istan is one of the better horses sired so far by Excelebration, which had the misfortune of running against Frankel on five occasions. The jury is out on his potential at stud; he has made an unremarkable start with his first crop of juveniles.

That said, Istan is clearly improving. The nap vote goes to Circus Ring, also the mount of Donnacha, in the opening maiden. This Fastnet Rock-bred will be hard to deny if he makes even minor progress from his debut fifth at Naas, with the extra eighth of a mile to suit.

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