'Purpose' has sense to prevail
DERMOT WELD'S Sense Of Purpose can follow a well-worn path to glory in tonight's Ballyroan Stakes at Leopardstown.
The Curragh handler's Profound Beauty secured the last two renewals of the Group Three, having landed the Dublin venue's Challenge Stakes a few weeks earlier -- a feat that the improving Sense Of Purpose matched last time.
If Sense Of Purpose can build on that under Pat Smullen now, Weld should complete his hat-trick.
Granted, the four-year-old's opposition looks strong. Bob Le Beau, which is three pounds better off here after being beaten a neck into second in the Challenge, is similarly progressive, while Marksmanship also has some potential.
The Ballydoyle three-year-old was a good winner on his racecourse debut at The Curragh in April, before performing respectably in two subsequent starts when upped in class.
At Longchamp most recently, he was beaten 10 lengths in a high-quality Group One, and this evening's 12-furlong contest is a considerable step down on that. Nonetheless, Sense Of Purpose is preferred. With just one defeat -- when second to the classy Banimpire -- in her last three starts, she is clearly going the right way.
In the opening Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden, Learn is fancied to justify the nap selection. Of the three others in this that have already run, Miss Dylan probably has the most potential, but Learn's effort in defeat at Galway sets the standard.
On that occasion, Aidan O'Brien's charge drew 13 lengths clear of the third when second to the smart Riviera Poet, form that nothing else can match.
Joseph O'Brien, who partners Daddy Longlegs for his father in the two-year-old race, might get on the scoresheet in the fillies' handicap that follows. The teenager rides Dotada for Peter Casey in this competitive one-mile heat.
On just her second start this term, the grey mare ran an in-form Jamesie to a length at Fairyhouse last month when conceding a pound in weight.
She kept on well that day over six furlongs, so the return to this distance might bring about the required improvement.
Sligo hosts a jumping card that could be dominated by Willie Mullins. Of the seven races, the champion trainer holds strong chances in five, and it would be no surprise to see him eat into the gap of eight that Tony Martin currently enjoys over him in the handlers' championship.
In the Martin Reilly BMW Dealer Novice Hurdle, Mullins' Rattan ought to take all the beating, while Uncle Junior should also score on his return to hurdling in the Guinness Sligo Handicap.