There's an intriguing renewal of the Brownstown Stakes at Fairyhouse this evening - and it's odds-on that this valuable Group Three prize is for export.
Veteran Lambourn trainer Barry Hills will fancy his chances with likely favourite Sent From Heaven, which is on a recovery mission after disappointing behind Lillie Langtry in the Coronation Stakes, while Bryan Smart sends his smart filly Distinctive on another raid after a good run at Leopardstown earlier this month.
Leading the home defence are Jim Bolger's Kitty Kiernan, which returned to form with an all-the-way victory over seven furlongs at Naas last time out, and Bewitched, which has been flying the flag for the Charles O'Brien yard this season. However, O'Brien admits that he is in the dark over the prospects of his filly staying the seven-furlong trip.
Bewitched landed a Listed pot over six furlongs at Haydock in May, beating subsequent Jersey Stakes winner Rainfall in the process, but then found the ground too firm at Ayr over five furlongs and O'Brien thinks the step up to seven may prove too far.
“This is a bit of a trial to see if she actually stays seven,” said O'Brien. “It is a very easy seven furlongs at Fairyhouse so if she doesn't stay it there she won't stay it anywhere.
“Rainfall obviously gave the form a boost but this is not a straightforward contest. I won it last year with Glowing but I think that was a slightly softer race than this.”
In light of those doubts and with Sent From Heaven having five lengths in hand on Distinctive on the basis of their English 1,000 Guineas run — when they finished fourth and fifth respectively behind the classy Special Duty — the vote goes to the Hills representative.
The action gets under way with a maiden for juveniles over six furlongs in which slight preference goes to Joseph Murphy's Isis Song, ridden by Wayne Lordan, which ran a race full of promise when seventh to Seeharn on her debut at The Curragh earlier this month.
Trainer Aidan O'Brien has confirmed that the aforementioned Lillie Langtry will take on older fillies for the first time in next week's Etihad Airways Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket.
“We gave her loads of time off and she needed her first run and then we went to Ascot,” said O'Brien.
“She seems to have come out of that race really well and we are looking forward to the Falmouth.
“It will be three-year-olds taking on older fillies for the first time and it will be a fascinating contest.”
Meanwhile, Miss Faustina won the feature at Sligo last night.