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Los Angeles States Derby Case (The Horse, Not the City)

Such was the hype surrounding City Of Troy headed into the current season, it was easy to believe Aidan O’Brien’s Classic claims began and ended with the previously unbeaten son of Justify. Of course, that is never the case for team Ballydoyle, who possess a seemingly endless conveyor belt of equine talent.

It is far too soon to write off City Of Troy – just look at Auguste Rodin, who rebounded from a similarly underwhelming 2000 Guineas display to claim the English and Irish Derby and the Breeders’ Cup Turf. But barely had the dust settled on that Newmarket display than a new Ballydoyle star thrust his hat into the Epsom ring.

Los Angeles Lights up Leopardstown

The Cashel Palace Hotel Derby Trial Stakes may not be the most informative or glamorous trial for the 1m4f Epsom event, but isn’t averse to throwing up a future Classic hero. High Chaparral came home in front in 2002 before mastering Hawk Wing at Epsom, whilst 2009 champ Fame And Glory went on to Irish Derby success. In common with High Chapparal and Hawk Wing, 2024 winner Los Angeles hails from the Aidan O’Brien yard and appears likely to be set similarly lofty targets in the coming months.

In handing O’Brien a record-extending 16th win in this 1m2f Group 3 affair, this strapping colt – significantly bigger than City of Troy – improved his reputation from a possible Derby runner to a genuine contender for the title. Despite missing the break, the mount of Wayne Lordan was soon travelling nicely just off pace-setting stablemate Euphoric and showed an admirable attitude when asked to go and win his race in the straight.

Doing all his best work late, he looked good value for the one-length winning margin. That certainly left the strong impression that the additional 2f of the Derby distance would see him in an even better light.

Now a Perfect Three from Three

In scoring at Leopardstown, Los Angeles was building on a hugely promising juvenile campaign. Having kicked things off with an effortless success at Tipperary, he was immediately stepped up into Group 1 company for his second start – providing an early pointer as to the regard in which he is held. Ryan Moore opted to ride Illinois in that Criterium de Saint-Cloud contest but may have regretted that decision as Los Angeles came with a relentless and withering run to get up close home. The quality of that effort was a little lost in City Of Troy’s shadow last season, but one run into the current campaign, the gap between the two appears far smaller.

Like Father Like Son?

Connections will be delighted if Los Angeles can follow in the hoofprints of his brilliant sire Camelot. Also a Group 1 winning juvenile, Camelot claimed the 2011 2000 Guineas at Newmarket, Epsom Derby and Irish Derby before narrowly missing out on becoming the first Triple Crown winner since Nijinsky when second in the St. Leger.

Los Angeles has some way to go before he hits those heights, but he has made a most encouraging start. At the time of writing he sits third in the Epsom betting market – behind City of Troy and Godolphin star Arabian Crown.