Surrounding takes aim at Heritage

Tough Listed test for Halford mare at Leopardstown

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Trainer Mick Halford hopes Surrounding can pick up some more valuable black type in the Heritage Stakes at Leopardstown.

After finishing a close-up third in the valuable “Sovereign Path” Handicap at Leopardstown last September, the six-year-old rounded off her 2018 campaign with successive wins on the all-weather at Dundalk – including a Listed contest on her final start.

She returned to the County Louth venue for her reappearance last month – and while she was no match for the runaway winner I Can Fly, Surrounding was a clear second, and Halford hopes that race fitness will give her an advantage on Wednesday.

He said: “She’s in good form and she should enjoy the ground.

“She has a bit to find with a few of them on ratings – but she has the benefit of a run, which some of them haven’t, so hopefully that will help her.

“We’re looking for a good run from her, and if she’s placed we’ll be delighted.”

Surrounding features in an 11-strong field, for which the Ger Lyons-trained dual Group Three winner Psychedelic Funk sets a lofty standard with a rating of 110.

Fozzy Stack saddles Zihba – who won the Group Three Amethyst Stakes over this course and distance last May – as well as Harvestfortheworld.

Stack said: “Zihba is in good form and ready to start off. It looks a competitive enough race and it won’t be an easy task for him with the penalty, but hopefully he’ll run well.

“The filly (Harvestfortheworld) is coming back to something like herself, and we’ll see how she goes.

“She’s getting plenty of weight off a good few of them.”

Aidan O’Brien’s one-time Classic contender Amedeo Modigliani returns to action just 10 days after finishing third in the Listed Devoy Stakes at Naas – his first outing since the 2017 Galway Festival.

Verbal Dexterity is an interesting contender for the in-form yard of Jim Bolger. The Vocalised colt won the Group One National Stakes as a juvenile and has his sights lowered significantly on his seasonal debut – having finished down the field in the Irish Champion Stakes and the Champion Stakes on his final two starts last term.

Dermot Weld’s Imaging, Jessica Harrington’s Marshall Jennings, Sheila Lavery’s Quizical, the Patrick McKenna-trained Sam Missile and Tiger Voice from Henry de Bromhead’s yard complete the line-up.

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