Frankie Dettori's Epsom Derby flop John Leeper out to repair damaged reputation at Sandown Park
DERBY flop John Leeper will attempt to get his career back on track at Sandown next week.
The exciting colt was sent off a well-backed 8-1 shot with top jock Frankie Dettori aboard in the Epsom Classic earlier this month.
But he over-raced in the early stages of the race and, having briefly threatened to get involved at the top of the straight, he quickly weakened out of contention.
Trainer Ed Dunlop was gutted after the race – which was won by 16-1 shot Adayar – having had high hopes that the horse named after his late dad could win the Derby.
The horse was given a short break after the race and he is reportedly fresh and well ahead of his assignment in next Friday's Gala Stakes.
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Dunlop said: "All being well and everything being equal, we're probably going to go to Sandown next Friday in a Listed race over a mile and a quarter and we'll see how we get on there.
"There is a race in France next weekend for three-year-olds over a mile and a quarter if I'm not happy with Sandown, but at the moment we're heading to Sandown.
"We'd like to sort of drop down before going back up again. Sandown is a stiff 10 furlongs which will suit.
"He was a bit keen at Epsom and Frankie suggested we drop him back in trip, this seems an ideal race.
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"We've always thought on pedigree and looks he should stay a mile and a half, but we mustn't forget he's only run four times in his life."
Dunlop continued: "He did a lot in a month, going from a Newcastle novice to the Derby with a Listed race in between.
"He fell into everyone's dream given his pedigree and being named after my father and people latched on.
"That dream has gone now, we've moved on and he's a horse we're in no rush with.
"He should be better as an older horse and we retain utmost faith in him.
"It didn't happen at Epsom, but the one thing was he didn't have a hard race – when Frankie knew he wasn't going to be involved he just let him coast home."
Richard Hannon's Derby runner-up Mojo Star will attempt to go one place better in Saturday's Irish Derby at the Curragh.
He spearheads a strong British challenge, with Derby third Hurricane Lane and the promising Lone Eagle set to represent Charlie Appleby and Martyn Meade respectively.
The market for the Curragh Classic is headed by Aidan O'Brien's High Definition, who is 13-8 with Coral.
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