So Perfect bids to set up a trip to Royal Ascot with victory in the Goffs Lacken Stakes at Naas on Sunday.
At a meeting billed as Royal Ascot Trials Day, Ballydoyle handler Aidan O’Brien is understandably well represented.
The Scat Daddy filly ran at the big meeting in Berkshire last season, finishing a close fourth in the Queen Mary to Signora Cabello.
She then beat subsequent Moyglare Stud winner Skitter Scatter in a Group Three, before finishing placed in a brace of Group Ones and at the Breeders’ Cup.
On her return this year she was beaten just a head in the Fred Darling at Newbury, and drops back down to six furlongs for this Group Three contest.
“She had a lovely run in the Fred Darling at Newbury at the start of the season and we are bringing her back to sprinting with a view to going to Naas before possibly heading for the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot,” said O’Brien.
O’Brien is also represented by The Irish Rover and Western Frontier.
So Perfect’s chief threat may well be the Ger Lyons-trained Inverleigh, who beat The Irish Rover comfortably in a Listed event at Navan first time out this season.
One not to be underestimated, though, is Fozzy Stack’s Empire Line.
In eight outings he has only been out of the first two once and that included last week at Naas when reeled in close home by stablemate Woody Creek.
“Empire Line was beaten by one of our own last week. He runs his race every day,” said Stack.
“This is another step up in class, but we’re getting to that stage now where he’s going to have to take his chance in races like this.”
Jessica Harrington’s Flash Gordon and Aidan Fogerty’s On A Session are others of interest.
Paul Midgley can see “no negatives” ahead of Final Venture’s trip to Ireland for the Sole Power Sprint Stakes.
The seven-year-old is without a win since June 2017, but since then he has kept some lofty company.
He proved he was as good as ever when going close in the Scottish Sprint Cup at Musselburgh on his reappearance, and Midgley believes he has plenty in his favour.
“His first run back was excellent, it was a solid run on a track that maybe doesn’t play to his strengths,” said North Yorkshire-based Midgley.
“He was giving the winner lumps of weight, it was a good performance and nice to see him back to be honest.
“He’s come out of that in great form and Naas should suit him, it’s a stiff five furlongs, which I think is his perfect trip, the ground is fine and there are no negatives.
“If he’s good enough he’ll win, if he’s not he won’t.”
Taking him on is the Gordon Elliott-trained Beckford, who had a spell in America after proving to be a smart juvenile.
Now back with his original trainer, Elliott feels he may take time to get back into his old routine.
“He’s in good shape and is ready to start off for the season,” said Elliott.
“It’s his first run for a good while, so I’d be expecting him to come on for it, but I’d still be hoping to see him run a good race.
“We’ll see how he gets on here before making plans.”
Queen Mary runner-up Gossamer Wings runs for O’Brien, along with Fantasy and All The King’s Men.
The Coolmore Gustav Klimt race only has four runners – but all are previous winners.
O’Brien runs Pistoletto, successful at Tipperary by over five lengths, while Gerard O’Leary saddles Navan winner Real Force.
Peace Charter and So Wonderful clash again in the Coolmore Stud Irish EBF Fillies’ Sprint Stakes.
Lyons’ Peace Charter came out on top against O’Brien’s So Wonderful over course and distance 20 days ago, with both fillies looking to have bright futures.
A War Front filly out of an American Grade One winner, Peace Charter got up close home to beat O’Brien’s highly-regarded youngster and round two could come down to which horse benefited most from the experience
Stack takes on the big two with a duo of his own, Yesterdayoncemore, who has been second on both her starts to date, and American Lady, who was not disgraced in Listed class last time out.
“American Lady was unlucky not to be placed in a Listed race at the Curragh and deserves to come here and take her chance,” said Stack.
“Yesterdayoncemore was second to a good colt of Aidan’s (King Neptune) last time out and she is in good order at home. Hopefully they can both run well.”
In the Owenstown Stud Stakes, David Marnane’s Royal Hunt Cup winner Settle For Bay returns to action.
He had a couple of runs out in Dubai, but it did not really work out for him, so Marnane is hoping for an encouraging performance.
“He came back from Dubai in good form,” said Marnane.
“He had a wind operation out there and was a little late coming back to us, so we are a little behind schedule with him, but he’s in good form and this looks a lovely race to start back in with a view to heading back to Ascot,” said Marnane.