Piz Badile keeps Derby dream alive with Ballysax win

Piz Badile is on course for Epsom after showing admirable resolution to land the P.W. McGrath Memorial Ballysax Stakes for Donnacha O’Brien at Leopardstown.

After Vina Sena and Bluegrass had dropped away, it looked like the Joseph O’Brien-trained Buckaroo was going to be an emphatic winner once engaging top gear on the outside.

But as he got to Piz Badile and edged past, Gavin Ryan’s mount fought back on the inside and was back in front by a short head at the line.

Duke De Sesa, the 100-30 favourite who had beaten Piz Badile in the Eyrefield Stakes here in October, was three and three-quarter lengths back in third.

It could hardly have been tighter
It could hardly have been tighter (Niall Carson/PA)

“He’s always been a beautiful horse and he’s matured well over the winter,” said O’Brien.

“It was a lovely performance and it’s nice to see him able to quicken like that because I know he stays well.

“He’s going to be better when he goes a mile and a half, but I think the fact that he can quicken means he’s got a bit of class.”

Piz Badile in the sunshine at Leopardstown
Piz Badile in the sunshine at Leopardstown (PA)

He added: “The plan has been here, Derrinstown (Derby Trial) and then Epsom. Obviously everything has to go right back here the next day, but that’s been the plan for a while and that’s what we’ll stick to.

“He’ll be fine on any ground, I’d have no problems with soft ground and no problems with good ground. He’s very versatile.”

Betfair make Piz Badile a 14-1 chance for the Cazoo Derby, with Buckaroo available at 25-1.

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