First things first and the challenge facing the ex-Australian So You Think. Truth to tell, it looks a relatively soft touch for the imposing son of High Chaparral and anything less than a comfortable success will be surprising.
A cracking horse in his native country, he has made a big impression since arriving in Europe. His latest performance was his best, responding well to Seamus Heffernan’s driving to master Workforce in theCoral-Eclipse at Sandown in early July.
Ed Dunlop’s Snow Fairy is the only possible danger. A really good sort when on song, she indicated a return to her best was imminent when two lengths second to Midday in the Nassau Stakes at Goodwood.
The other Group 1 on the programme, the Coolmore Fusaichi Pegasus Matron Stakes, also looks bound for Balldoyle, via Misty For Me.
She has always been top-class, but a trouncing of Midday in the Pretty Polly at the Curragh on Irish Derby weekend was a revelation.
Misty For Me bucked out and made all to score by six lengths, revelling in the soft ground. The selection appears to handle most surfaces, but if the rain comes that would increase one’s confidence in the daughter of Galileo delivering.
O’Brien has a strong hand as well in three of the other races, starting with Ahimsa in the Irish Stallion Farms’ EBF Fillies Maiden.
She is progressive and entitled to go close, on the evidence of her half a length second behind Lady Wingshot on this track.
Ballydoyle’s once-raced Athens is the nap choice in the Irish Stallion Farms’ EBF Maiden for colts and geldings.
He made his debut at York, when it took a long time for the penny to drop. The Dylan Thomas colt, however, finished to real effect to claim fourth spot behind the Henry Candy-trained Rugged Cross. The form was boosted when Crusade, also trained by O’Brien and who finished eighth, returned home to score at the Curragh.
John Oxx’s Akeed Mofeed, who certainly caught the eye when fourth to yet another O’Brien inmate, Learn, at Leopardstown, is the obvious worry.
A fifth O’Brien possibility is Viscount Nelson, one of three he has in the contest, in the Group 3 Kilternan Stakes. He made no show at Belmont Park in June, but outclassed the smart Bob Le Beau at the Curragh prior to that.
At Dundalk tomorrow the nap vote falls on East Meets West in the Louth/Meath/Westmeath ITBA Race over seven furlongs.
He made no show at York, but that is hardly his true form and is better judged on a previous effort at Tipperary. The son of Dansili found every bit of trouble going in the straight, when a close third to Strait Of Zandibar and Battle Of Saratoga, and really ought to have won.