Williams aiming to 'Smash' his Curragh rivals
Jim Bolger's Smash Williams made a huge impression on his debut at the Curragh last weekend and makes a swift return to headquarters for tomorrow's featured Round Tower Stakes.
Bolger's colt looked every inch a Pattern-race performer when slamming his opponents by upwards of six lengths and is sure to be popular as he steps up to Group Three company for a race his trainer has won three times in the last 10 years.
Smash Williams is unlikely to have it all his own way, however, with Rockaway Valley having already shown his worth at this level. Jessica Harrington's course-and-distance winner filled the runner-up spot in June's Railway Stakes before finishing fifth in the Group One Phoenix Stakes.
"He's dropping down to a Group Three and he seems in good form," said Harrington. "I think he probably just came up a little bit short last time. Maybe he's just not quite up to that level. I've been happy with him since."
The seven-strong field includes four fillies, with the Dermot Weld-trained Juliette Fair perhaps the most interesting.
Runner-up on debut behind Rockaway Valley, the daughter of Dark Angel got off the mark at the second attempt in some style at Leopardstown.
Fiona Craig, breeding advisor for owners Moyglare Stud, said: "It's a tough race, but the plan is to run and we'll see how we get on. Juliette Fair is in good order. We wouldn't want to run on fast ground - it was pretty quick at Leopardstown when she won there, but we wouldn't want to go on that again."
The Dance Design Stakes is the other Group Three contest on the card and Willie McCreery is hoping Devonshire can gain an overdue success in it.
The daughter of Fast Company has been placed four times from five starts this season, most notably finishing an excellent third in the Irish 1,000 Guineas.
She was only narrowly denied in the Listed Ruby Stakes at Killarney last week and hopes are high the Godolphin-owned filly can open her account for the campaign for James Doyle.
"She ran a good race the last day, she's been running well all year and deserves to get her head in front," said McCreery.
Across the water today, there's a two-pronged Irish raid on the Beverley Bullet Sprint.
The challenge is led by sprightly veteran Maarek which has been a top sprinter for several seasons and can boast such notable races as the Prix de l'Abbaye, Duke of York Stakes and Qipco British Champions Sprint among his successes.
The eight-year-old - which will be partnered by Jamie Spencer - needs soft ground to be seen at his best and the forecast suggests Evanna McCutcheon's charge is likely to get it, while his draw in the fourth stall is also favourable.
"When we have been able to get him out this season, he's run very well," the Co Tipperary handler said. "Seamie (Heffernan) got off him after the Phoenix and was very happy as he obviously needed the run. He was a bit ring-rusty as it was his first start since May, so you'd like to think there's a fair bit more to come."
The Tom Hogan-trained Dikta Del Mar is the other Irish challenger and is no stranger to British action having finished third behind Katawi in a Listed contest at Ayr in June, although she disappointed at Glorious Goodwood last time out.
Hogan has put a line through that run and can see his three-year-old putting in a decent bid after finishing third at Tipperary last time out.