Noel Meade’s charge comes here in good shape, having won over hurdles at Ballybrit on Monday evening.
The last time Athlumney Lad ran on the level was at Naas in early May, when brought with a typical late surge by Kinane to beat the smart Valentina Guest by a length and a half.
Top weight, Holy Orders, hugely impressive in winning this contest a year ago, and Former Senator, who caught the eye when fourth at Leopardstown on his seasonal debut earlier in the month, have to be respected in a difficult contest.
Kinane teams up with form horse, Oakum, for James Burns in the Smithwicks Auction Maiden. She is dropped in class, having finished a creditable fourth to Chelsea Rose and subsequent winner, Silk And Scarlet, at Leopardstown.
Preference, however, is for Kevin Prendergast’s well-regarded newcomer, Key Mountain, representing a yard which is having a good week and seems chockful of talent.
In-form Sandy Owen is the one they all have to beat in the 14 furlongs Harp Lager Race.
He ran a cracker at Galway on Monday night, sixth to Rockstown Boy in the GPT, and can confirm previous Killarney running with Swiss Roll.
The selection beat his rival then by less than two lengths, was value for a lot more, and can make light of a 7lbs turnover in the weights.
John Oxx’s once-raced Akilana, a promising fifth to Rio de Janeiro (disqualified following a stewards’ inquiry) at the Curragh, will be a tough nut to crack in the Smirnoff Black Ice Maiden.
Dermot Weld’s Muntami, however, is napped against her. The son of Daylami cut little ice over seven furlongs behind Tycoon at Leoapardstown back in September, but looked a horse crying out for a trip!