'DC' to keep Heffernan in seat of power
Washington DC adds a slice of star potential to tonight's Dundalk proceedings.
Aidan O'Brien's Zoffany colt won the Windsor Castle Stakes at Royal Ascot last year, before finishing up with a fine turn to be second to the clear 2,000 Guineas market leader Air Force Blue in the Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh.
The only one of his eight rivals in this evening's seven-furlong Listed race that boasts anything like that sort of recommendation is David Wachman's Most Beautiful.
A £126,000 daughter of Canford Cliffs that is part-owned by Ronan O'Gara, Most Beautiful won a Curragh Group Three in June. She was then second to Ballydoyle in the Debutante Stakes, so she is clearly a filly of considerable talent.
Nonetheless, if Washington DC has progressed, he is the one to beat.
While Seamie Heffernan's mount may be more of a Commonwealth Cup type than a Classic hope, he simply ran to an extremely high level last term.
Heffernan has a cracking book of rides on the card, maybe none more so than Sofi's Spirit in the following handicap. Each of Michael Browne's six-year-old mare's four victories have come on all-weather surfaces, though she hasn't won since scoring in a Lingfield claimer in December 2012.
Rated 64 at the time, she is down to a mark of 52 now, so she is of real interest from an inside draw in this 14-runner affair.
She has gone close here off 54 in recent months, most noticeably so when beaten around a length by Tom Dooley over this trip at the end of February.
Sofi's Spirit was a little flat-footed when fourth over six next time before then struggling in the mud at Cork. Tonight, she has everything in her favour, so she appeals as nap material.
In the 12-furlong finale, the Ballydoyle deputy is on Denis Hogan's Sea's Aria. The Jim Bolger-trained Locus Standi had Sea's Aria's measure here over 10 furlongs last time, but he is three pounds worse off here.
Given the authority with which Locus Standi prevailed on that occasion, he could follow up. However, the step up in trip might be more to Sea's Aria's advantage.
The Sea The Stars gelding stayed on quite purposefully last time, and he certainly doesn't seem punitively handicapped off a mark of 53.
In the penultimate maiden, Wachman will saddle his only other runner on the card, Posing.
A Medicean four-year-old that is a half-sister to Supasundae, Posing is another really likeable type.
Coolmore-owned, she ran a lovely race to be second to Ebayya at Gowran Park on her only previous outing last August.
She has clearly taken time to mature, but the first two pulled well clear in what was a decent maiden at Gowran, so she has an engine.
If Posing is ready to run to a similar level in modest company now, she ought to justify likely short odds under Wayne Lordan.