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On Monday, One Ruler and John Leeper, both intended runners for next month’s Derby, were put through their paces on Epsom turf. Below are the reactions to their performances by their trainers as reported originally by Jockey Club News. 

ONE RULER

Owner – Godolphin

Trainer – Charlie Appleby

Charlie Appleby said, ‘I was very pleased with what I saw there. He is a naturally balanced horse, but he has not encountered anything like that before. The whole object of the exercise was to let him have a look at the track but more importantly he was fresh in the Guineas as you saw there.

The first couple or three furlongs he was taking James [Doyle] on a bit. We already had it in our mindset that we were going to come straight from the Guineas to The Derby. We felt that bringing him would ensure we would not be going into The Derby too fresh, that was the main objective of the exercise and I was delighted with what I saw there’.

‘He’ s a horse that has form on soft ground so these conditions were not going to worry us. From what we have seen so far you couldn’t be happier. He’s moved well on the track and picked up well up the straight there. I don’t think you could be any happier with what we saw really’.

‘He’s a different horse when he comes to the track, he just lights up more. At home he is a nice worker. But he gets into a nice routine at home that he gets comfortable in, so it is nice to bring them away and just see what really is under the bonnet there a little bit and from what I’ve seen today I’m happy so far.

‘If the race was 10 furlongs you would be delighted. It is going to be a big question mark the mile and a half, there is no doubt about it. On his pedigree there is a question mark, but he is an Autumn Stakes winner, and he was doing his best work towards the end there, likewise in the Vertem Futurity Trophy. It was his last couple of hundred yards that put him back into second when he stayed at it dourly.

‘James [Doyle] said although it was quick in the Guineas he rode like a horse that would appreciate stepping up in trip. The trip is a big question mark and though it is a mile and a half and though you have a bit of a climb you freewheel downhill for two furlongs or so there and though I’m not saying it is an easy mile and a half, if he is going to get it he has got as good a chance of getting it around here. He was a horse in the Guineas that was doing it the wrong way round being as keen as he was. At the five pole you thought he could quietly fade away there what he done early doors but he didn’t and I have to be honest I was keeping my eye firmly on Master Of The Seas, I lost sight of One Ruler. It was not until I watched the replay that I was pleasantly surprised how he finished his race off. Hopefully, that will put us in good stead over a mile and a half here.’ Best Price 33/1

JOHN LEEPER

Owner – Anamoine Limited

Trainer – Ed Dunlop

Ed Dunlop told reporters, ‘We were never going to do too much whether the ground was nice or not as he only the weekend before last. This was about bringing him to get a bit more experience with Adam [Kirby] on him. The ground was very soft, almost heavy but he looked to enjoy himself. Hopefully everything will be OK and we will be back here on the first Saturday in June. He is an inexperienced horse but what I was pleased to see today was that he has been very relaxed doing the whole thing. He is not a baby, but everything was new to him today. I was thrilled with the way he behaved, and he wasn’t keen going down the hill which was good as they were only going slowly.

‘There was a bit of a concern with Newmarket as it was such a farcical race that he just latched a bit earlier than we would have liked to and it was something we had never really seen. I think he did well to win at Newmarket. William [Buick] was very good. He kicked on and got on with it. That was all part of his learning curve. He has not done much wrong so far but there is still a long way to go as they say. We always liked him last year. He had a tiny hiccup after Doncaster last year which meant we were not able to run him again. He was a very big, immature horse so he was never going to do much as a two-year-old. We like him and he was bred to be liked but as we have said before many of the well-bred horses don’t turn out to be much cop, but hopefully this horse will. You hoped he could get to this stage.

We would have been disappointed if he hadn’t won his maiden and he has now won his Listed race but he has now got to step up markedly to be competitive in The Derby, which at the moment the Irish look like they have a stranglehold on. We will just keep him fit, healthy and sound leading up to the race and the rest will be up to the Gods. The trip should be up his street as his mum won The Oaks, although she was better as time went on at a mile and a quarter, but I would be surprised if there was any problem with the trip. It is probably one of the more interesting stories of the race. Having a horse named after my father is very exciting, and it creates a little bit of pressure for everyone but at the moment the horse has no idea there is any pressure on him so hopefully we can enjoy it. Of course, it is quite emotional as well and it would be a great day if he could go on and win The Derby.’ Best Price – 8/1

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