Lyons' Ainippe can upset Queen's bow for Godolphin
Majestic Queen gets her first chance to justify Sheikh Mohammed's decision to cough up £825,000 to acquire her in tomorrow's Brownstown Stakes at Fairyhouse.
The dual Group Three winner has doubtless been bought with her long-term potential as a broodmare in mind.
However, it is nonetheless a testament to Tracey Collins' endeavours with the five-year-old daughter of Kheleyf that James Doyle flies in to don the Godolphin blue on her stable star.
A year ago, Majestic Queen just failed to concede weight in this Group Three, and she is faced with a similar task now after running well to be third behind Mustajeeb and Maarek in a Curragh Group Two.
It would be great to see Collins emulate Jim Bolger, Mick Halford and Willie McCreery by saddling a winner in the famous silks.
Still, it won't be easy at these weights. Ger Lyons' Ainippe is the only one of Majestic Queen's six rivals also rated above 100, and she receives eight pounds from her. Ainippe has the scope to exploit those conditions on what is her first stab at seven furlongs.
A Listed winner and Group Three placed as a juvenile, she has progressed well this term, building on her Naas return over five furlongs to just be denied by Toscanini over six at Navan.
On her latest start at the Curragh, the Captain Rio filly got a daring ride from Colin Keane to chin Newsletter in a Group Three. That confirmed the impression of her as a smart sort and indicated that she will be suited by this longer trip. As such, Ainippe is fancied to collect again in this €75,000 event, which Lyons also won with a three-year-old Berg Bahn in 2010.
In the six-furlong handicap, Lyons and Keane are tipped to collect with Trinity Force. The decisive Naas winner Chillie Billie is the only one of the seven runners in this to have made the frame on its last couple of starts.
After 62 runs, he doesn't appeal off a career-high rating of 74, whereas Trinity Force still has scope prove worthy of his mark of 86. Placed over seven at Cork off 89 last year when he tired late on, he wasn't disgraced over a mile at the Curragh last week.
Trinity Force is two pounds lower for that now off 86, so, with blinkers on for a first time, it would be no surprise to see him have a big say. The day's nap vote goes to Mzuri in the seven-furlong handicap for three-year-olds.
Gussy Goose will doubtless be expected to go close in this after winning nicely at Gowran Park, but Mzuri is heading in the right direction. Trained by the shrewd Sheila Lavery, Mzuri tired into fourth behind Lily's Rainbow on her seasonal and handicap debut over a mile at Naas on June 1.
At Leopardstown subsequently, she looked in command a furlong out over the same trip, only to wilt inside the distance, eventually beaten a length-and-a-half in third behind Cape Wolfe and Lily's Rainbow. The handicapper has acknowledged the promise of those performances by not easing her rating, and she is trusted to vindicate that judgement under Pat Smullen.
The concluding conditions race is the only heat contested by Ballydoyle horses, with Outspoken and the reappearing Archangel Raphael on duty.
Dermot Weld's hat-trick-seeking Edelpour and Charles O'Brien's Ulster Derby winner Botany Bay form the opposition, but this could be an opportunity for Outspoken to enhance the impression that he made when well-backed on his successful Navan debut.
Over jumps at Limerick, O'Brien supplies Barry Geraghty with his comeback mount Waver in the conditions hurdle. JP McManus's gelding has yet to fulfil his potential but he will appreciate the forecast decent ground, so he is a real contender.
Geraghty might also go close in the beginners' chase aboard Michael Hourigan's McManus-owned Hash Brown, a smart hurdler that will also enjoy the good ground.
In the €16,000 handicap chase that trades as a Galway Plate trial, Ruby Walsh could be the man to follow on Sir Harry Cash. Eric McNamara's dual course winner will be fresh after disappointing in the mud through the winter.