Mullins's True Self to highlight class and foil O'Brien quartet
It's champion trainer versus champion trainer as jumps powerhouse Willie Mullins takes on the might of Flat supremo Aidan O'Brien in the Group Three Stanerra Stakes (7.55) at Leopardstown tonight.
The all-conquering O'Brien saddles half the field with a quartet of three-year-olds led by the 100-rated Peach Tree but Mullins has the class act of the eight-runner affair in True Self.
Mullins's six-year-old is rated 9lb superior to her seven rivals and was chasing her fifth win in succession - three of which were at Listed level - when coming home second in a Group Three at Haydock last month.
The heavy going may not have been to the liking of the Oscar mare on that occasion, however, and she sets the standard with Colin Keane's mount also set to enjoy the step back up to 1m6f at the Foxrock track.
Last year's winner Cimeara - then trained by Jim Bolger - should give a decent showing for Joseph O'Brien but if True Self delivers anything similar to her recent showings, she will take some stopping.
The 'Nasrullah' Handicap (7.25) is the card's most valuable event with Peter Fahey's mare Hamley an intriguing contender in this €100,000 event after an eye-catching fourth at the Irish Derby Festival.
The daughter of Fastnet Rock left her disappointing seasonal reappearance behind Joseph Murphy's Insignia Of Rank - which re-opposes again today - well behind when doing all her best work at the finish in a Curragh handicap two weeks ago.
Leopardstown regular Tudor City will have his supporters off bottom-weight for Tony Martin and in-form veteran rider Niall McCullagh but three-time course winner Innamorare could prove the value each-way option in an open affair.
Gavin Cromwell's charge has mixed the good with the bad this season but the four-year-old loves it around Leopardstown and stepping up to 10 furlongs for the first time could bring the necessary improvement needed to be competitive at a decent price.
The concluding Red Bean Roastery Maiden (9.0) is also above average with useful national hunt performers Chosen Mate (Gordon Elliott) and Go Another One (John McConnell) set to duel for the spoils.
Meanwhile, Aidan O'Brien sends a trio of runners to Newmarket for the opening day of the July Cup meeting with Barbados looking his most likely chance of a winner in the opening Group Three Bahrain Trophy (1.50).
The Ballydoyle maestro is also represented by outsiders Royal Lytham and King Neptune in the Group Two Tattersalls July Stakes (2.25) but Mark Johnston's Visinari looks a class apart.