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Maybe can lay a Guineas marker

AN intriguing assortment of two-year-olds, headed by the 2012 1,000 Guineas favourite Maybe, promise some informative racing at Leopardstown tonight.

Successful in what might have been an ordinary Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot, Maybe had previously accounted for some smart fillies, including the highly regarded Teolane, on her debut at Naas in May.

Her unbeaten record is on the line now in this evening's Silver Flash Stakes, but it will be a surprise if Aidan O'Brien's filly doesn't prove hard to beat under the trainer's son Joseph.

Among Maybe's opposition in the Group Three contest is Kevin Prendergast's Limerick victor La Collina, as well as Jim Bolger's Somasach, which finished second to Experience at The Curragh last time.

Mark Prescott brings Kempton winner Gooseberry Fool, a half-sister to the former dual Group One winner Aussie Rules that is having its first turf start, while Jessica Harrington introduces Maid To Master. Fran Berry's mount is a full sister to another renowned Ballydoyle heavyweight, Mastercraftsman.

The one concern in relation to Maybe is that of how much poundage she will need to concede. Her apprentice rider's weight continues to cause problems for punters.

While O'Brien has managed as low as 9st this month, he has also carried overweight on bigger allocations, most notably when beaten a head on Secretary Of State at Gowran Park. On that occasion, he failed to claim three pounds off 9st 3lb.

With Maybe assigned 8st 12lb here, five pounds would be a lot to give away. Should O'Brien get down to 9st, however, his mount may have the class to compensate.

The father and son partnership also team up with the debutant Camelot in the opening Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden. In all, three of the five runners in this hail from Rosegreen, but Camelot's prominence as ante-post favourite for the 2012 Epsom Derby surely means that there will be long faces all round if he doesn't oblige.

Later on, Sunset Beauty is fancied to confirm the impression she made when sluicing up in a Gowran Park handicap last time. The lightly raced four-year-old looks to be favourably treated by the weights in the seven-furlong conditions race.

A similar comment applies to Sense Of Purpose in the concluding Listed event. Jessica Harrington's top-weight Bob Le Beau is in a rich vein of form, but Sense Of Purpose, second to Banimpire at Cork last time, receives six pounds from Harrington's Big Bad Bob gelding.

On the final exchange of Killarney's July Festival, House Rules is the day's nap selection under Ruby Walsh in the John O'Connell Memorial Novice Hurdle. Although House Rules has six lengths to make up with Greenbelt Star on their Punchestown clash in May, the latter had the benefit of a run that time, and House Rules subsequently improved to score at Listowel.

In the preceding Europe Hotel & Resort Handicap, Dorset Square may be the pick of the options on the Flat at the Kerry venue. A comfortable winner on reverting to the level at Ballinrobe, he could still be ahead of the handicapper despite a 12lb hike.

Irish Independent