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Rain will make Lemista the main threat to Elfin Queen


Aidan O'Brien. Photo: Barry Cregg/Sportsfile

Aidan O'Brien. Photo: Barry Cregg/Sportsfile

Aidan O'Brien. Photo: Barry Cregg/Sportsfile

As ever, Aidan O'Brien is enjoying success at Royal Ascot this week, but he will be keeping an eye closer to home this evening when he saddles Elfin Queen for the feature in front of the RTÉ cameras at Gowran Park.

Under Seamie Heffernan, the pair combined for an impressive victory in a maiden at Naas 12 days ago and there looks to be room for improvement to justify favouritism this evening.

The main threat is likely to come from Lemista who was also victorious last time out, albeit almost three months ago on heavy ground in Naas.

Perhaps of greater significance is Lemista's victory at tonight's venue back in October, again on heavy ground, and if the forecast rain falls, the mount of Colin Keane should come into the picture.

Keane is also booked to partner the favourite, Helvic Dream, in the final race on the card, another horse who relishes softer ground as shown when winning on its the last two outings in Roscommon on heavy and soft ground.

With Gowran currently good, good to yielding in places, punters may well be looking to the heavens for guidance with Helvic Dream's main challenger, Feminista, also strong on softer turf for Jim Bolger.

Unlike Helvic Dream, who hasn't run since last September, Feminista's two outings at Gowran in the last eight days should give Kevin Manning's mount the edge.

On both occasions, a front-running tactic narrowly failed to bear fruit with two second place finishes, but there's reason to believe they can go one better this evening.

The same quality of fare isn't on show in Tipperary earlier in the day with the five furlong Tipperary handicap the highlight in what should be an open contest.

Jessica Harrington's pair of For The Trees and Cool Vixen are likely to be in the mix with King Of Stars for Joseph O'Brien also likely to feature prominently but course and distance winner Dash D'Or could spring a surprise.

Irish Independent