Making Light will be fancied to give Dermot Weld a boost on the opening day of the 2018 flat season in Naas today.
The Moyglare-owned filly is closely matched with Elegant Pose on course and distance form in the listed Garnet Stakes in October.
But, expected to strip fitter than her chief rival, Pat Smullen’s mount gets the vote in the Group 3 Lodge Park Stud Park
Express Stakes, highlight of a seven-race card which also features the €100,000 Tote Irish Lincolnshire.
Winner of a Limerick maiden and the Group 3 Killavullan Stakes at Leopardstown as a juvenile, Making Light, like many inmates of Rosewell, probably failed to reach her potential last season.
But the daughter of Tamayuz still achieved plenty, ending the season with victory, thanks to the Leopardstown Stewards, in the listed Knockaire Stakes. She was pipped by Larchmont Lad but was awarded the spoils in the room.
Earlier, she had been pipped on the post by Elegant Pose in the Garnet here, having earlier had her Ger Lyons-trained rival behind in third when narrowly beaten by Alluringly in the Hurry Harriet at Gowran Park.
Elegant Pose is officially rated 1lb superior to the filly. But my hunch is that the Weld filly might strip fitter than her rival tomorrow, enough to give her the edge.
The 20-runner Lincoln, which includes 2015 winner Onenightidreamed, looks virtually impossible to solve. And I suggest a small each-way investment on Aussie Valentine, having his second start for Adrian McGuinness.
This seven-year-old has only three wins to his credit, the most recent of them at Leopardstown in April 2015.
But he boasts a notable record in the Irish Lincoln – he has filled the runner-up berth in the race for the last three years, behind Onenightidreamed, Sruthan and Brendan Brackan respectively, when trained by Paul Deegan.
Aussie caught the eye on his first run for McGuinness in Dundalk last month, behind one of tomorrow’s rivals Beach Bar, which stole a big lead and was never threatened, with subsequent winner Jon Ess second.
That run should leave Aussie Valentine in good nick. And, in a wide-open renewal, he should figure prominently, again.
On the supporting card, Adrian Keatley’s London Icon, a promising third behind Gobi Desert and Kentucky Derby-bound Threeandfourpence on his debut at the Curragh before bolting up in a mile maiden at this venue, might defy top-weight, off a mark of 91, in the Woodlands 100 Club Madrid 3-Y-0 Handicap.
And Aidan O’Brien’s charge Hence and Full Moon are no more than tentative choices in the maidens on the card.
Meanwhile, Poormans Hill might be capable of bouncing back from a disappointing run at Gowran Park last time in the Toals Bookmakers Ulster National in Downpatrick today.
The seven-year-old, winner of a bumper for John Neilan at the 2016 Galway Festival, has been a revelation since joining Gordon Elliott, having triumphed six times for the County Meath trainer.
Poormans Hill began his winning for Elliott at today’s venue in September, when scoring off a mark of 88, 32lb below his current rating.
In addition to bagging three hurdles and three chases for Elliott, he had run creditably in some of our top handicap chases, including a fourth in the Troytown and a fifth behind RSA winner Presenting Percy in the Porterstown.
Admittedly, he was a bit disappointing last time, when sixth behind Pairofbrowneyes in the Leinster National in Gowran Park.
But tomorrow’s task looks easier. He’s returning to a track where he boasts an unbeaten record and, fitted with cheekpieces, should prove a tough nut to crack.
Jack Kennedy’s mount has Thyestes runner-up Wounded Warrior behind in Gowran and should confirm the form, with Undressed potentially the biggest threat.
On the supporting card, the versatile mare Synopsis looks another likely winner for Elliott and Kennedy in the Molson Coors Rated Hurdle – she has recent Wexford winner Brave Out to beat.
And Getareason might land the bumper for Willie and Patrick Mullins.
PETER O’HEHIR’S TIPS FOR NAAS
1.55.SON OF BEAUTY
3.05.SON OF REST
3.40.LONDON ICON (NAP)
DOUBLE: LONDON ICON and MAKING LIGHT.
O’HEHIR’S LONGSHOT: PALARIVA (3.40)
PETER O’HEHIR’S TIPS FOR DOWNPATRICK
2.10.CARO DES FLOS
3.20.SHOW AND GO
DOUBLE: TIMEWAITSFORNOONE and SYNOPSIS.
O’HEHIR’S LONGSHOT: DARE TO ENDEAVOUR (2.55)