Certerach set for return
Michael Halford is delighted to have Certerach back in action after a nine-month lay-off in the Challenge Stakes at Leopardstown on Thursday.
The County Kildare trainer reports the 2014 Dubai Gold Cup winner to be ready to return to the fray having being sidelined since last October, although he does expect his seven-year-old stayer to need the outing.
"He's in great form, he's been training well, but he'll improve for the run. We delighted to see him back," said Halford.
"He was training lovely in preparation for Dubai and he got lame at Christmas time. We didn't get to run him or get him to Dubai.
"We had to give him a break but we have him back now and he's in good order."
Halford also saddles Drifting Mist, who will retire to the paddocks after this race as she is in foal.
The five-year-old mare has run consistently in all her three starts this season, her latest effort coming in the Listed Lenebane Stakes at Roscommon earlier this month when she was fourth to Panama Hat.
"It will be her last run before she retires as she is in foal," he said.
"She's been running very well. It's her last run. She's in foal and she will be retired after Thursday's run.
"We're delighted with her and she'll like the small field, so we are hoping for the best."
Aidan O'Brien is responsible for Fields Of Athenry, the only three-year-old in the six-strong line-up, while Dermot Weld runs Silwana, winner of a two-mile Curragh handicap last month.
Newmarket trainer Ed Dunlop sends Manndawi back over the Irish Sea after the five-year-old took third place behind Weld's Postulation in the Listed Silver Stakes over a mile and a quarter at the Curragh in his first run since September 2013.
Cullentry Royal, trained by Johnny Levins, completes the sextet.