Dermot Weld’s Grecian Tiger and the Aidan O’Brien-trained duo of Egyptian Warrior and Shield are all fascinating participants in what promises to be an informative Killiney INH Flat Race at Leopardstown on Sunday.
The four-year-old bumper has thrown up a clutch of smart performers in recent years, with Weld saddling Universal Truth and Waaheb to win successive renewals before the Jessica Harrington-trained Jezki struck gold 12 months ago.
This time around Grecian Tiger brings the strongest form to the table, having justified odds-on favouritism on his racecourse debut at Naas in early January.
Weld’s youngster, who holds an entry in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival later this month, is fitted with blinkers for this second appearance in public.
Jockey Robbie McNamara said: “He’s a very nice horse and he looked like he was going to go and win easy the last day, but he just idled in front and nearly threw the race away.
“He’s not ungenuine and he’s quite straightforward really, but we’re putting the blinkers on him to help him concentrate. He’s a well-bred horse, I think he’ll improve with age and he’ll appreciate better ground.”
Egyptian Warrior and Shield became O’Brien’s first National Hunt runners in over eight years when lining up against each other at Punchestown a little under a fortnight ago.
The lesser fancied Shield finished one place ahead of his stable companion in fourth, and he too holds an entry at Cheltenham.
Egyptian Warrior does not seem to possess the same class as his full-brother and this year’s Epsom Derby favourite Kingsbarns, but shaped with enough promise on debut to suggest he can win in this sphere.
A field of 11 are due to go to post in the concluding race of Sunday’s Leopardstown card, with Noel Meade’s Ange Balafre, second in the same Punchestown race contested by the Ballydoyle pair, another contender.