Venus out to build on Oaks second
Darley Irish Oaks runner-up Venus De Milo could book a trip to Longchamp with a victory in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Give Thanks Stakes at Cork on Tuesday.
The lightly-raced filly did not see the racetrack as a two-year-old but is quickly making up into a smart performer, taking second place in the Curragh Classic on just her third career outing. Unbeaten in two starts prior to that, Aidan O'Brien drops her to Group Three level before hopefully raising her sights again.
O'Brien said: "She has been in good form since the Oaks, although we haven't done a lot with her. I'm happy with her and we're going for this hoping to win a Group race with her.
"We'll see how she gets on, if things went well we could look at something like the Prix Vermeille."
Paul Deegan's Midnight Soprano has to carry a penalty having already won the Noblesse Stakes over course and distance this season. Last time out she was not disgraced when beaten just over four lengths in the Lancashire Oaks at Haydock.
"She's got a penalty, but this race has been the plan for some time," said Deegan.
"She's very well but it looks like Venus De Milo will be very hard to beat given how well she ran in the Oaks. The ground will be in our favour, though.
"We had her entered up over hurdles at Galway as she's a natural jumper. Ruby (Walsh) came to school her and she could have run at Galway but we thought we'd stick to the original plan. We'll get this race out of the way then she's in the (Irish) Leger Trial (Curragh, August 24) and the Leger itself and then we might think about going hurdling.
"She's a superstar mare and we normally sell them to go hurdling but we'll keep her. I only had one runner over hurdles last year (Mr Lando) and it won."
As well as Venus De Milo, Aidan O'Brien also runs Beach Of Falesa, while Jim Bolger saddles Bunairgead.
Dermot Weld is represented by Sleeping Beauty, with John Murphy's Kiss Goodnight completing the field.