Sunday 18 February 2018

Avenue on path to Naas

Avenue Gabriel (left)
Avenue Gabriel (left)

After finishing fourth in the Irish 1,000 Guineas last month, Avenue Gabriel bids to pick up a nice pot in the Listed Irish Stallion Farms EBF Naas Oaks Trial on Wednesday.

This is a step up in trip for Paul Deegan's filly, who won at Listed level as a juvenile and has the highest rating of the 10 fillies that contest this prize on a mark of 103.

Deegan said: "She's been in very good form since the Guineas and I'm very happy with her. We always thought she would be better with a step up in trip so I'm confident she'll stay.

"If she was to go and win, she'll go for the Irish Oaks and if she doesn't then there's the Kilboy Estate Stakes so she has options.

"If the ground is firm all over we would have to look at it. It's a good Listed race so you couldn't be confident, more hopeful."

One of her rivals is Carla Bianca, who bids to enhance Dermot Weld's fine record in this race, with the Rosewell House trainer having been successful in two of the last three years with Sapphire and Caponata.

Carla Bianca impressed in Navan when beating stablemate Starlet by five lengths in a fillies' maiden. She also holds entries in the Irish Oaks and the Group Two Kilboy Estate Stakes.

Aidan O'Brien is triple-handed with Palace, Dance With Another and Beyond Brilliance.

Palace was seventh to Taghrooda in the Epsom Oaks after running fifth in the Irish 1,000 Guineas, while maiden winner Dance With Another has a second attempt in Listed company.

Beyond Brilliance has struck up a good partnership with the trainer's jockey daughter Ana, winning a maiden in Fairyhouse and a handicap at Navan. She is back on board again.

Just a neck behind Beyond Brilliance in Navan came Shanooan, and her trainer George Kent believes there is more to come from his 83-rated filly.

He said: "She has progressed nicely over the winter. She's American-bred and the ground and trip helped her in Navan the last day. We were seeing that at home. She needs fast ground.

"We'd like to be a few pounds higher in the handicap going into a Listed race, but trying to get black type with fillies is what our business is all about. I'm very happy with her and with the sun on her back recently, she is progressing."

David Wachman supplies Circling, who ran third in the Munster Oaks on fast ground, and Fastnet Mist, who is yet to get off the mark in two maiden outings. Namurian Sunset and Step Away represent Patrick Prendergast and David Harry Kelly respectively.

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