Group One-placed Western Australia heads Aidan O’Brien’s three-pronged assault on the BetVictor Patton Stakes at Dundalk on Friday.
The son of Australia ended his juvenile campaign with a brave attempt to make all in the Vertem Futurity Trophy at Doncaster, where he was only beaten a length in third place behind stable companion Magna Grecia.
He was the 50-1 rank outsider of the field that day, but will be a leading fancy for this Listed contest with Ryan Moore in the saddle.
O’Brien was responsible for the first three home 12 months ago, the high-class Mendelssohn leading the way.
He will try to repeat that feat, with Van Beethoven, winner of the Group Two Railway Stakes at the Curragh, and Gowran maiden scorer Albuquerque also representing the Ballydoyle handler.
Taking on the O’Brien team is Lambourn trainer Archie Watson, who travels his recent Cagnes-Sur-Mer Listed winner, Barys.
The son of Kodiac has won both his races since being equipped with blinkers.
“He’s a Listed winner. It’s the right race for him, because he doesn’t have to carry a penalty,” said Watson.
“It’s obviously a tougher race than in France with Aidan O’Brien’s horses in there, but he’s fit and well and I hope he runs a good race.”
Michael Halford is happy with Playa Del Puente, who steps up in grade after two wins on this course.
“He’s done well since his last run and everything has gone well,” said the County Kildare trainer.
“On ratings he has a bit to find, but he’s progressive and may have a fitness edge over some of the higher-rated ones, so we’re hoping for a good run.
“He’s a big, scopey horse and has got better with every run. He only does what he has to at home. He’ll always do more on the track and we’re happy with him.”
Joseph O’Brien has declared both Colfer Me and Numerian, with the John Oxx-trained Manjeer completing the line-up.