By Kevin O'Malley, www.tote.co.uk
A quality twilight card of Flat racing at Leopardstown on Wednesday begins with a two-year-old maiden well worth keeping an eye on for future clues.
Next up is the Group Three Derrinstown Stud Fillies’ Stakes and the scene of the first of three dark horses running at the Co. Dublin venue.
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So Wonderful is hardy and sets the standard for this Group Three over the mile trip. As an 108-rated maiden, it is about time she got off the mark and she’ll be a warm order to do so. However, she is a tad exposed and if there is a filly who could rise up the ladder, perhaps past Group Three level, it is Dermot Weld’s AMMA GRACE.
She failed to deliver when favourite here last time, but it was still a career-best effort in fourth. She’s sure to come on for the outing and with the trainer now in good form, Amma Grace could begin to justify the Irish Oaks and Matron Stakes entries she has.
Irish 2,000 Guineas form will be tested in the Amethyst Stakes with the fifth horse home at the Curragh, Sinawann, taking his chance for Michael Halford. Aidan O’Brien is represented by two solid colts and Johnny Murtagh has an unexposed sort in So Suave.
The horse I hope will get home over the mile trip is Andy Oliver’s CONFIDENCE HIGH, a good moving sort who arrives in top shape after two quick wins here in June over seven furlongs. This Kodiac gelding finds himself in deeper waters, but his tail is clearly up and you can never discount a young, improving horse.
He’s already progressed a stone or so against the best we saw of him at two, but perhaps there is more to come. His trainer clearly thinks the race is worth a go and there are no obvious stars lining up, while Billy Lee in the saddle is up there with the best and knows the horse well.
It is hard to know how the market will react to this Jessica Harrington-trained runner, but a couple of things are worth noting ahead of this 1m2f maiden. This son of Make Believe is the eleventh out of his dam, and a half-brother to the likes of Youmzain and other quality performers, so the pedigree is there.
He went off as 9-2f for his debut at the Curragh last term and although finishing fifth, he was only three lengths behind Wichita. After not handling Dundalk on his second outing, he improved a bit to run OK in another warm race won by Celtic High King.
There’s no denying that there are a few likely sorts lining up, but nothing stands out form wise and AESOP is the interesting one in the field.
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