STONE Age gift-wrapped a most productive week for Ballydoyle in the various Derby trials with a scintillating performance at Leopardstown that earned him the favourite’s tag heading to Epsom next month.
There appeared to be little doubt in Ryan Moore’s mind regarding his mount’s skillset and ability to quicken as he made the running without unduly stretching his lead early on.
Stone Age (112+) vindicated his rider’s faith as the pair quickened away from their field on meeting the rising ground when turning into the straight to post the best time figure of the day at the Dublin track.
The credibility of the performance is increased further as the other two Group 3 races on the card were also strong on the clock with the three races together clear of the remainder of the card. Admittedly, Stone Age clocked the slowest closing sectional of the three group race winners, although the difference was marginal and balanced by the ease of victory and the extra distance covered. The relevant data being Stone Age 37.65secs, History 37.52secs and Pretreville (110) 36.71secs.
Earlier in the week, Changingoftheguard (112) was a runaway winner of the Group 3 Chester Vase on Wednesday at Chester, a victory which started the ball rolling for Ballydoyle.
Ryan Moore was all action as the stalls opened, assuming an early lead which he reinforced with the quick early sectionals that ultimately formed the basis for an impressive time figure.
By establishing control of the race early on, Moore earned the luxury of slackening the pace heading into the back straight before asking the son of Galileo to seal the contest.
A literal reading of the closing sectionals in relation to the other races on the card show the closing three furlongs to be the slowest on the day.
However, the most important assessment is comparing the relative merits of the performance against Thoughts Of June (110) who won the Cheshire Oaks in an identical time figure when adjusted for distance.
Changingoftheguard covered the final three furlongs in 39.09secs which contained a final furlong of 13.06secs when well clear of his field - in comparison his stablemate posted 38.87secs and 12.69secs for the same ground in the fillies listed contest.
There is nothing to say Changingoftheguard would not have found more if challenged, so I would suggest a small sectional upgrade be applied to his performance.