DEIRE NA SLI is the nap selection to build on a promising reappearance effort when she tackles the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies' Race at Dundalk this evening.
The one-mile conditions event is the first of three €13,000 prizes on offer at the seven-race Co Louth fixture and Jim Bolger's three-year-old brings the best recent form into it following her staying-on third in a Listed race behind Sing Softly on Sunday.
Previous to that, Deire Na Sli rounded off her juvenile campaign with a facile triumph in a handicap at Leopardstown, so she is clearly going in the right direction.
Juliet Capulet and Ballybacka Lady may be the dangers. However, while Juliet Capulet ran a nice race in a Group Three at Leopardstown two weeks ago, the Aidan O'Brien-trained filly is more exposed than Deire Na Sli. Ballybacka Lady, a good winner here on her final outing of 2010, may need the run.
O'Brien has three other solid chances on the card. Ballroom, a Storm Cat half-brother to Ballydoyle's four-time winner Emperor Claudius out of the 2005 1,000 Guineas hero Virginia Waters, will be a fascinating debutant in the opening maiden, with Lake Ontario also fancied in the three-year-old handicap.
The trainer's son Joseph claims three pounds off that top-weight, and first-time blinkers should aid his cause. Having won a Naas maiden nicely last August, Lake Ontario looked all at sea when stepped up in class at York, so the combination of the headgear and a drop in class ought to pay off now.
In the one-mile handicap that follows, Toraidhe bids to atone for a slightly disappointing defeat over seven furlongs last week. The return to a mile will help the Lincolnshire runner-up, but he is passed over in favour of Barrow Island, which has been raised three pounds for a two-length victory here the week before.
Bashir Biyoum Zain, a half-length in front of Toraidhe in third last week, gets the nod in the 10-furlong handicap. Paul Deegan's charge should relish the step up in trip.