The Blue Panther can make it third time lucky when he lines up for the second race, the Foran Equine Irish EBF Auction Maiden, on today’s card in Navan.
Michael Mulvany’s horse ran in a good maiden on the first day of the season and showed real promise to finish third behind Poetic Flare and Lipizzaner. He returned on June 10 to contest another hot maiden and built on previous promise by finishing runner-up to Chief Little Hawk.
He was never really in contention that day but stayed on strongly to be beaten a little over a length by a smart prospect. Today’s extra half furlong will help, and he can put his experience to good use to account for Street Kid and Vafortino.
Lili Milena can take the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden for Dermot Weld and Oisin Orr. The three-year-old filly made her debut last season at Thurles and fluffed her lines early before showing real promise behind subsequent Irish 1000 Guineas winner Peaceful.
Although fifth, she left the impression she was the second-best filly in that race and has been found a good opportunity for her return.
Shooting Spirit can reverse recent form with Illetas when the two contest the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden, the fourth race on the card.
They finished second and fifth behind You’resobeautiful in a maiden, and the form of the race has worked out well, with the winner since finishing runner-up in a listed race and third-placed Na Blianta Seo a fast-finishing fourth in the same listed race.
As many of Joseph O’Brien’s runners tend to, Shooting Spirit looked in need of the run that day as her effort petered out in the final furlong. Up to that point, she had moved well on the tails of the leaders and was close enough to strike if good enough. With the run under her belt, she can prove a different prospect today.
Illetas was a 50-1 chance in that maiden but ran a superb race. It might be tempting, considering the odds, to think of that as a fluke but she had shown promise on her only start of last season and will win races.
Limit Long, with cheekpieces applied for the first time, is likely to set a furious pace but is a ten-race maiden and may need to find a little more to concede weight to all his rivals.