Who’s Steph bids to repel a Ballydoyle battalion in the Irish National Stud Racing Irish EBF Blue Wind Stakes at Naas today.
Ger Lyons turns the Zoffany filly out again quickly in the Group Three contest after a facile victory at Gowran Park last weekend.
The four-year-old won as she liked in the Victor McCalmont Memorial Stakes six days ago and looks to set the standard in the 10-furlong contest at the Kildare track now.
Connections have stressed that Who’s Steph will not be risked on fast ground and with temperatures set to rise and a dry forecast next week it is no surprise to see her back in action.
Aidan O’Brien fires four darts, all daughters of legendary sire Galileo, at the €80,000 prize headed by Listed winner Peach Tree
She rounded off last season with victory in the Staffordstown Stud Stakes at Navan, beating Tarnawa who reopposes.
The 104-rated filly would appear the main danger to Who’s Steph in receipt of a stone from her elder rival.
Her stablemate Credenza was well held in third behind Lyons’ charge at Gowran and it would be hard to see her turning the tables. Magnolia Springs will be a first runner at Naas for trainer Eve Johnson Houghton who has booked in-form jockey Billy Lee for the daughter of Shamardal.
The trainer said: “She will love the cut in the ground and we are looking forward to a good run from her. We went to France last time with her, looking for soft ground, and it was fast there.
“She ran really well there considering it was fast ground so we are really looking forward to a good run. I’ve never used Billy Lee before but he looks a good jockey to me and I’m very happy to have him.”
O’Brien has a strong hand in the following Naas Racecourse Rated Race with the top three in the weights. Turnberry Isle looks the first string on jockey bookings and can be expected to improve from his comeback effort at Cork last month.
He was a progressive sort as a juvenile, winning on his third outing at Naas, and looks the type to do better with a run under his belt.
There are a couple of interesting juvenile contests on the card and Ballydoyle introduce a beautifully-bred newcomer in the opening Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden. Ohio State is a full-brother to champion two-year-old and champion sprinter U S Navy Flag as well as three-time Group One winner Roly Poly.
The first two-year-old winner of the year Red Epaulette turns out again in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Race where he bids to concede weight to the field in the six-furlong contest.
Michael O’Callaghan’s charge looked very smart when scoring over five at this track in late March and could prove hard to beat stepping up a furlong now.