Princess bids for Naas repeat
Dermot Weld's Princess Highway is the star of the show as she defends her title in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Blue Wind Stakes at Naas on Wednesday night.
Winner of this all-aged Group Three over a mile and a quarter last year, Princess Highway went on to record an impressive six-length victory in a well-contested Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Subsequent Oaks winner Was was only third at Naas 12 months ago, but Weld's filly failed to score again from three more starts in the Irish Oaks, Prix Vermeille and EP Taylor Stakes.
"We don't really want any more rain as the ground is soft enough for her, but I'm happy with her and it looks an ideal race to start her off in. We'll see how she goes here, she's in the Tattersalls Gold Cup among a number of other entries," said Weld.
Princess Highway faces just three rivals, and Kevin Prendergast is using the event to open up more options for La Collina, who has been unable to win since her Phoenix Stakes success at two. She stayed on nicely over an insufficient seven furlongs to be third in the Gladness Stakes on her recent comeback.
"Princess Highway looks the one," said Prendergast.
"Our filly is in good form and is stepping up in trip. We thought a mile might be becoming a bit short for her on her run in the Sun Chariot and it's worth a try over a mile and a quarter as she's in the Pretty Polly, a Group One, over the same distance later on.
"She'll have come on for her last run, as she hadn't run since the Sun Chariot back in the autumn."
The only three-year-old in the quartet is the Jim Bolger-trained Rehn's Nest, who has a host of smart entries later in the season. A maiden from five starts at two, the Authorized filly chose a fine place to lose the tag when winning the Group Three Park Express Stakes in late March.
Euphrasia is the evident outsider, having already struggled to make an impression in Listed company this year.