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In-form team rely on Ancient Spirit at Leopardstown

Wed 12 Aug 2020

Ancient Spirit bids to provide trainer Jessica Harrington, jockey Shane Foley and owner Zhang Yuesheng with a second big-race victory in the space of a five days in the Clipper Logistics Desmond Stakes at Leopardstown on Thursday, live on Racing TV at 15:00(BST).

The Moone-based trainer saddled Lucky Vega to claim Group One honours for Chinese businessman Yuesheng in what appeared a strong renewal of the Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh on Sunday.

Having won successive Listed prizes in June, Ancient Spirit had to make do with the runner-up spot behind Joseph O’Brien’s Patrick Sarsfield on his latest outing in the Meld Stakes, but gets another chance to strike Group Three gold on Thursday.

Harrington said: “Hopefully he has a good chance. He’s in good form, anyway. He’s been running well all year and has some good form at Leopardstown.

“The ground will be no issue for him either, because he’s run well on soft ground and very fast ground.”

Ancient Spirit is the highest-rated horse in a field of seven runners.

Trais Fluors is winless since leaving Andre Fabre to join Ken Condon last year, but was little over a length behind Ancient Spirit in the Meld Stakes last month.

“He’s quite a talented horse,” said Condon. “He ran well the last time at Leopardstown, and I think quick ground wouldn’t hold any fears for him.

“He just needs everything to fall his way. If he got a clean trip and a good, even pace all the way that might see him at his best. A true-run race would set him up well.

“We don’t think we’ve quite seen the best of him. He’s in good form – and if everything fell his way he’s capable of a good run.”

Aidan O’Brien relies on Royal Dornoch, while Dermot Weld is represented by the once-raced Curragh maiden winner Etneya.

Fiscal Rules (Jim Bolger), Nebo (Tom Hogan) and Bowerman (Ado McGuinness) complete the line-up.

The first-named of that trio takes an eyecatching drop in grade, having made his only two previous appearances this season in Classic company.

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