Group One-placed Western Australia heads Aidan O’Brien’s three-pronged assault on the rearranged BetVictor Patton Stakes at Dundalk on Wednesday.
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 in this race 12 months ago, as the high-class Mendelssohn led the way.
He will try to repeat that feat, with Van Beethoven, winner of the Group Two Railway Stakes at the Curragh last summer, and Gowran maiden scorer Albuquerque also representing the Ballydoyle handler in an eight-runner field.
The one-mile contest was one of the races affected when Friday evening’s card was abandoned after two races, after Willie Buckley, of the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board’s security team, collapsed and died at the course.
The late official’s nephew, Kevin Buckley, is Coolmore’s UK representative.
Taking on the O’Brien team is Lambourn trainer Archie Watson, who sends over 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 down 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 the Polytrack.
“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.