Zawraq returns at Leopardstown

One-time Classic hope Zawraq makes his first appearance since April of last year in the Trigo Stakes at Leopardstown on Sunday.

Dermot Weld, trainer of Zawraq

The Shamardal colt won his only juvenile start at the Foxrock circuit in October 2014 and looked every inch a top-class prospect when making a sparkling start to his three-year-old campaign in the Leopardstown 2,000 Guineas Trial.

Dermot Weld's charge was set to line up as a major contender for the Investec Derby a couple of months later, but was ruled out of the Epsom showpiece just days before his bid for Classic glory after sustaining a crack in his off-fore cannon bone.

Zawraq has received several entries since and while a number of setbacks have delayed his return, he is finally ready to make his comeback after an absence of 560 days.

Angus Gold, racing manager for owner Hamdan Al Maktoum, said: "It will be nice to see him back. He's had a litany of problems, obviously, and you never really know how they'll run after such a long time off.

"Everyone is satisfied with the work he's done at home. He's not doing anything electric but he's ready for a run and we'll see how we go.

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"We just take things day by day with him."

Zawraq is the star turn in a field of 10 runners set to go to post for the 10-furlong Listed contest.

The second highest-rated participant is Charles O'Brien-trained filly Santa Monica, who ran arguably the best race of her career when third in the Blandford Stakes on her latest appearance.

"She's been running well and it would be nice to get a Stakes win into her," said O'Brien.

"Hopefully the weather is fine between now and then and the ground stays good."

Flying Fairies was third in a Listed event at Naas last week and trainer Joe Murphy is hoping for a similar result.

He said: "She ran a good race the other day and seems quite well. Hopefully she'll run a good race, but we all have Dermot Weld's horse to beat.

"If our filly can run well and get a bit more black type we'll be happy."

Jim Bolger's recent Limerick scorer Round Two also features.

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