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Joseph O'Brien reveals plans for his leading Flat hopes

Joseph O'Brien is charting a path back to Leopardstown with impressive maiden winner Buckhurst for the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial on May 12.

Owner Lloyd Williams has enjoyed a huge amount of success with O'Brien, winning a Melbourne Cup with Rekindling and an Irish Derby with Latrobe, and Buckhurst shapes as another for connections to get excited about.

Speaking at his iconic Owning Hill Stables, O'Brien said: "I'd imagine Buckhurst will go for the Derrinstown [May 12] in a few weeks' time at Leopardstown.

"He's obviously got options across the water as well. He's a little bit behind now, as he's had just the one lifetime start. He's a nice horse and if he happens to make the Derby, great, but we won’t force him."

O'Brien added: "We'll take it one step at a time. He's probably going to meet Broome back at Leopardstown, which would probably be a big ask on just his second start but, like I said, we'll give him the chance to be a Derby horse and see how things work out."

Buckhurst may be the future but Latrobe is very much the present for O’Brien and Williams, and the trainer provided an upbeat bulletin on last year's Irish Derby hero, who is likely to make his return in the Group 3 Alleged Stakes at Naas on Saturday.

O’Brien said: "I'm very happy with how he’s wintered – really happy with him. He'll start back in the Alleged Stakes on Saturday and we'll go from there.

"He's a great horse to have in the yard and we're looking forward to him. The main aim with him will be to win a Group 1 and he'll probably end up on his travels to Australia later in the year. For what races, I'm not sure, but you'd have to say that's likely."

Asked if he viewed Latrobe as a stayer for the season ahead, O'Brien said: "I don't think so. I think a mile and a half could be his optimum trip. He's got a big cruising speed and a strongly run mile and a half is what he wants.

"The Tattersalls Gold Cup could be an early-season target and we can regroup after that. He's a huge horse so you'd have always thought he'd make a better four-year-old. Hopefully he does."

O'Brien also has some talented fillies to work with this season, including the three-year-old Iridessa, winner of the Group 1 Fillies' Mile at Newmarket in October.

The daughter of Ruler Of The World was no match for Lady Kaya on her seasonal bow at Leopardstown last weekend, but O'Brien is keen to aim her at the 1,000 Guineas, for which she is a general 16-1 chance.

O'Brien said: "I was very happy with how she ran at Leopardstown over the weekend and the plan will be to head to the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket with her now.

"She doesn't look like an Oaks filly but she's by Ruler Of The World and I guess we'll just have to play it by ear with her. I wouldn't be rushing to a mile and a half with her"

On his juvenile squad, O'Brien added: "I like the what I see – we've got around 70 of them.

"We've two-year-olds by Gleneagles, Guitafan, Muharaar, Golden Horn, Free Eagle and American Pharoah, and I'm looking forward to getting them started."

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