Polished Gem can shine in Athasi

DERMOT WELD can continue his terrific start to the flat campaign by saddling Polished Gem to take the Group Three Oratorio EBF Athasi Stakes at the Curragh this afternoon.

She is bred in the purple, by Danehill out of former Irish 1000 Guineas winner Trusted Partner, and is reportedly highly regarded by her handler. This full-sister to Dress To Thrill has to step up from maiden class, but can prove more than capable of the transition.

She ran just twice last season, finishing with a cosy length success from the useful Sharapova at Leopardstown in October.

The surface was very testing that day and the selection is likely to prove far more effective on decent ground.

Ace has plenty in hand at the weights in the other Group Three on the programme, the High Chaparral Mooresbridge Stakes, but Aidan O’Brien’s horses have been very slow to come to hand and that’s an obvious worry.

Nevertheless Ace has to get the vote, having produced a series of decent efforts last season, culminating with a creditable second behind Andre Fabre’s Shirocco in the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Belmont Park in New York.

Tommy Stack’s Drayton created a favourable impression when scoring easily on his debut on this track and is the one to beat in the Listed Coolmore Stakes.

At Limerick today, Cuan Na Grai, as long as the ground remains on the good side, can land the nap in the Coyle Hamilton Willis Maiden Hurdle.

He gained valuable experience through the winter, but repeatedly found the closing stages of contests hard work and it is encouraging that his trainer, Paul Nolan, has now hit a rich vein of form.

The moderate In Technicolor has been found a good opportunity in the Nutec EBF Beginners Chase.

Arthur Moore’s charge performed with some promise when eight lengths runner-up to Southern Vic at Navan and this is a lot easier.

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