Weld primed for Navan rematch
Voleuse De Coeurs and Missunited, first and second in last year's Irish Cesarewitch, are set for an intriguing rematch in the Vintage Crop Stakes at Navan today.
The Dermot Weld-trained Voleuse De Coeurs was an impressive 10-length victor at the Curragh that day, although she was getting plenty of weight from Missunited.
She was then given a winter break before returning with a slightly disappointing second behind the reopposing El Salvador at Limerick last month.
Weld reports his charge to be primed for action, although he would not want the Navan ground to turn too testing.
"The filly is well and I hope she'll run a good race but I wouldn't like to see any more rain," he said.
Michael Winters kept Missunited busy over the winter with four hurdles outings, including a Grade Three victory at Limerick in March. She returned to the level with a second place in a Listed contest back at that track, and the trainer is expecting her to progress.
"She is fitter than she was at Limerick. She looked bulky there but she still ran a good race and she has tightened up since. I thought the race might cut up a bit more and it's disappointing to see so many horses rated above her in the race. She is taking a step up in class and is up against it, but she is in great form and she won't mind the ground," he said.
Jessica Harrington is keeping a careful eye on the weather as she prepares to saddle Steps To Freedom. The seven-year-old is a Grade Two winner over hurdles but has also shown plenty of ability on the Flat, finishing third in the Alleged Stakes before having to settle for fifth in the Sagaro at Ascot last time.
He had been an intended runner at Killarney on Monday, but testing ground saw Harrington pull him out and she will do the same again if conditions become too heavy.
"I would be happy to let him take his chance on yielding, but if it goes soft he won't run," she said. "He is in great order if I could just get him somewhere to run."
Tantalising already has a handicap win to her credit this term but trainer Patrick Prendergast admits this will be a tough task upped in company. "She is in top nick but she has a lot to do with the weights," he said.
Ken Condon's Macbeth faces a similarly uphill battle, but the trainer felt the application of a visor brought about improvement when finishing fourth behind Camelot last time.