SNOWFALL shaped promisingly when third in a strong-looking maiden at Navan 18 days ago, looking arguably the best long-term prospect in the field, bred to need much further than the 5.8 furlongs.
She gets the step up in trip here, and sets a good standard, so should take some stopping as she bids to get off the mark at the second attempt.
HUDSON RIVER ticks plenty of boxes on his debut, and without the benefit of market clues, he looks the way to go here. He has a fascinating pedigree, being the first foal of Nunthorpe winner Mecca’s Angel, and is certainly a newcomer of note from the powerful Aidan O’Brien yard.
Although O’Brien’s two other charges, Iowa and Wembly, are also well bred and brimming with potential on their first starts.
KATIBA improved on her debut win when third in the Killavullan Stakes at Leopardstown in October, but found the Irish 1000 Guineas a step too far on her reappearance 15 days ago – making no real impression as she finished sixth at this venue.
This step up in trip should show her to better effect however, and she may be able to regain the winning thread now having her sights lowered.
Returning to action after seven months off over this course and distance 15 days ago, STRONG JOHNSON was well backed in the morning and resumed his progress, winning with a bit in hand.
He could prove to be a sprinter worth following this season and a 9lb rise may not be enough to stop him following up.
MAKE A CHALLENGE boasted much the best form on his reappearance at Naas eight days ago, and he duly ran out a comfortable winner, quickening to lead entering the final furlong and finishing well on top in the closing stages.
He looked very much at home at the highest level when fifth in the Champion Sprint Stakes at Ascot back in October, so is certainly worth another chance back at Group 2 level. He should take plenty of beating as he seeks to double his tally for the season.
A high-class mare who scored three times at Group 1 level last year, it is almost impossible to oppose MAGICAL.
She didn’t need to improve on her best form to land the Champion Stakes at Ascot on her final appearance in October. That’s because she was always in control after she went to the front, and it will take a special performance (or a capitulation from Aidan O’Brien’s mare) to see her beaten on her reappearance.
GOLDEN VALOUR proved better than ever when resuming winning ways at Dundalk in February, and he turned in a creditable sixth on his reappearance at Navan 18 days ago, though he may have finished closer still had he not been forced to make his challenge wider and from significantly further back than those that beat him.
This step back up in trip should do him no harm, and considering he is still relatively unexposed on turf, he gets the vote in this competitive handicap.
Useful over obstacles, DE NAME ESCAPES ME did well when belatedly switched to the Flat last summer, winning a maiden at Rosscommon before hitting the frame in handicaps here and at Gowran.
He remains open to improvement in the sphere, and with Joey Sheridan relieving him of a handy 7lbs, he looks the way to go in a trappy affair. Sharjah and Jon Snow also catch the eye from Willie Mullins’s yard, while Grandmaster Flash could prove a danger for Joseph O’Brien.
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