Winner of the Breeders’ Cup Turf on her final start of last season, she returned with a disappointing effort at this track last month, but that was on particularly testing ground – not the ideal conditions for a return to action.
A considerable step up can be expected on today’s better ground, and she can account for her rivals, headed by Fascinating Rock, who won this race in 2015 and had Found a length and a quarter behind when winning the Champion Stakes at Ascot in October.
Ainippe can make a winning return in the Group Three Athasi Stakes. Ger Lyons’ filly won twice in this grade last term, and finished off the season finishing a fine third behind Newmarket 1000 Guineas winner Legatissimo in the Matron Stakes at Leopardstown.
The latter run suggested she could have further improvement in her, and this looks a good opportunity to make a positive start to her four-year-old season.
She is preferred to Dolce Strega, who made a successful comeback at Dundalk last time, and can also improve again for her return to turf.
The two penalised runners in the opening race can dominate, with preference for Aidan O’Brien’s Peace Envoy over Joseph’s Hyzenthlay. The selection was gambled off the boards when making a winning start at Dundalk, and was the subject of plenty of positive reports and ambitious plans following that success.
While he has to concede weight to runner-up King Electric, who was beaten at odds-on on his next start, he looks good enough to do so. Hyzenthlay looked a filly of considerable scope when making a winning debut, and shouldn’t be underestimated, despite taking on colts this time.
Quite a difficult-looking card in Down Royal, but Hurricane Darwin can make up his unfortunate fall at the last fence in Thurles, by taking the Monty’s Pass Beginners’ Chase for Alan Fleming.
Winner of a maiden hurdle on his previous start, the lightly raced six-year-old had promising form on good ground in bumpers, and shouldn’t have too much trouble with today’s conditions.
He is preferred to As De Ferbet, who makes his debut for Gordon Elliott, having been with Willie Mullins. The latter was a consistent if frustrating sort, finishing second four times and falling once in five outings for the stable.
Elsewhere, Gordon Elliott’s Cadeau Du Bresil will take beating in the bumper, provided the fast ground doesn’t work against him, while the market should give accurate expectation for The West’s Awake in the opening race.
He looked promising when last seen, but has been off for more than a year.