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Dawn Approach has class to dash Hannon's hopes in Naas

Reigning British champion trainer Richard Hannon bids for back-to-back triumphs in the Alfred Nobel Rochestown Stakes with Mister Marc at Naas this afternoon.

Successful with Lilbourne Lad 12 months ago, this time he and Richard Hughes team up with the once-raced Goodwood maiden winner, as Rod Millman's Yes Two completes the cross-channel contingent.

While both are respected in the two-year-old Listed race, the home defence looks strong enough to repel the raiders.

David Wachman's well-backed Leopardstown victor Cougar Ridge will be a danger to all if he improves, though Pedro The Great is arguably the more interesting of the two Coolmore-owned contenders.

The Aidan O'Brien-trained colt, a half-brother to the stable's 2005 2,000 Guineas hero Footstepsinthesand, is by their dual 2,000 Guineas winner Henrythenavigator.

Infanta Branca and Cristoforo Columbo, the only two Ballydoyle horses to have represented the first-season sire thus far, have both won already, so Pedro The Great could turn out to be a precocious colt.

That said, he will need to be to topple Dawn Approach.

Unbeaten in two, Jim Bolger's son of New Approach was a commanding course and distance winner last month, and you'd be hard-pushed to oppose such a capable colt without reason.

With €43,875 on offer to the victor, the Coolmore Stud Sprint is the most valuable of the card's three Listed races. Hannon relies on Sky Lantern, another once-raced Goodwood winner, with a more exposed Effie B out to add to Mick Channon's Irish Guineas coup.

Patrick Prendergast's Curragh scorer Nandiga leads the home team, but Sky Lantern, a straightforward and pacey sort, is taken to ensure that Hannon doesn't leave empty-handed.

On the undercard, Dermot Weld has five live chances. Croisultan, Crimson Sunrise and Mahaazen are all expected to oblige for the Rosewell House handler, with Mahaazen napped in the concluding fillies' handicap.

A winner in heavy ground at Tipperary on her final start last term, the blinkered three-year-old won't mind the rain-softened going, and she can build on her reappearance second to Wreckin Rock at The Curragh a month ago.

Over jumps at Listowel, Gonebeyondrecall appeals as one of the better options for Noel Glynn and Davy Russell. A fine third over hurdles at Killarney having crashed out at the 13th in the Grand National, he reverts to fences in the Kevin Broderick Memorial, and the drop in grade might see him earn an overdue triumph.

Irish Independent