Paul Deegan believes star mare Midnight Soprano could take her game to another level this season ahead of her return to action in the Cork Racecourse Mallow Noblesse Stakes.
The six-year-old won five races, including two Listed prizes, during a superb 2012 campaign and looks to have a fine opportunity to open her Pattern-race account in this mile-and-a-half Group Three. From what he has seen at home, Deegan thinks there are signs Midnight Soprano is in better shape than she has ever been.
"It's a good Group Three but she won't mind the ground and gets the trip well. She's fit and she's well and I'm looking forward to getting her started. She has been an absolute star for us over the past few seasons, a beautiful natured mare and a pleasure to have in the yard," said the trainer.
"She has done better over the past winter than any before, and has really strengthened this time around. Hopefully it brings about another bit of improvement in her.
"She won the Saval Beg on really soft ground last year but she seems to go on most types of ground. Her sister (Celtic Soprano) got a bit sharper as she got older and this mare might be the same. A mile and a half is probably her optimum trip. She takes very little work and gets naturally fit. Her last few pieces of work have been very pleasing."
The Kevin Prendergast-trained Majenta takes a significant step up in class, just a week after winning in handicap company at the Curragh.
Prendergast said: "She's run three times and won twice, and we'd like to get her some black type. Her owner Joerg Vasicek is a breeder and he got the record price of 215,000 euro at the Goffs Land Rover Sale for a three-year-old during the week.
"She's come out of the Curragh race very well. It looks a hot contest but she's getting weight-for-age, and we'll be hoping to get her into the placings."
A field of 10 has been declared, with Dermot Weld's Ribblesdale heroine Princess Highway the highest rated filly in the field. There are two challengers from Britain in Ralph Beckett's Cubanita and Testosterone from Ed Dunlop's yard.
Beckett said: "She's in good form and I think the trip and ground should be in her favour, which is why we're travelling over with her. She's obviously got her work cut out to beat Dermot Weld's filly, but she's in great shape and we'll give it a go."