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CLASSIC CLUES | John Leeper keeps Derby hopes alive with victory at Newmarket

Ed Dunlop’s John Leeper threw down his Derby claims with success in the Listed Fairway Stakes at Newmarket

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Ed Dunlop Trainer
888 Promotion

With the Derby meeting now only a few weeks away, the fields for the next two Classics on the Epsom Downs are beginning to form.

Several contenders stated their claims for Classic glory over the last week, with a few exciting talents snatching the headlines.

John Leeper landed some black type at the first time of asking, as he made hard work of claiming success in the Listed Fairway Stakes at Newmarket on Saturday.

The son of the unbeaten Frankel and foaled by 2010 Oaks winner Snow Fairy, the three-year-old struggled to settle and will need to find more if he is to mount a challenge in the Derby.

WATCH: JOHN LEEPER WINS THE FAIRWAY STAKES AT NEWMARKET [CREDIT: RACING TV]

However, the colt showed a tough attitude to split the front-running pair of Tasman Bay and Flyin’ High to take the lead at three out.

Ed Dunlop’s runner pulled away from the pack and was always doing enough, winning by a length and a half.

John Leeper was slashed to 7s for the Derby, which he could well be aimed for next month.

Hurricane Lane York
Hurricane Lane produced a gutsy performance on the Knavesmire for Charlie Appleby

Hurricane Lane made himself known in effectively the final Derby trial of the season, as the three-year-old landed the Dante Stakes at York on Thursday.

Charlie Appleby’s colt produced a strong staying performance, reeling in long-time leader Roman Empire in the final furlong and fending off the advances of Megallan to win by three-quarters of a length.

WATCH: HURRICANE LANE WINS THE DANTE STAKES AT YORK [CREDIT: RACING TV]

Hurricane Lane was cut from 33s to 6/1 for next month’s Classic on the Downs, with his trainer very keen on him to take his chance there.

John & Thady Gosden’s Derab saw his Derby price cut from 40/1 to 16s after impressing in a 1m novice stakes at Newmarket on Friday, while Sir Lucan landed the Listed Yeats Stakes at Navan on Saturday to enhance his chances of running in either the British or Irish renewal of the 1m4f Classic for Aidan O’Brien.

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