Clipper Logistics Desmond Stakes (Group 3) | 1m | 3yo+ | RTV
What you see is what you get with Ancient Spirit. Winner of the German 2,000 Guineas in 2018, he has done well since joining Jessica Harrington, wearing his heart on his sleeve to win back-to-back Listed races before coming unstuck behind Patrick Sarsfield in the Meld Stakes last month.
Coming back to a mile should suit this no-frills, no-nonsense horse, and he will be difficult to beat.
But Ancient Spirit is there to be shot at by potential improvers and Fiscal Rules and Etneya fit into that category.
Jim Bolger's Fiscal Rules has raced just twice this season, finishing fifth in both the Irish Guineas and Irish Derby, and this represents a big drop in class.
In contrast, Dermot Weld's Etneya is stepping up in grade after winning a Curragh maiden by three and a quarter lengths on her debut, which suggested she could be up to this grade.
It could be best not to forget Royal Dornoch. A Group 2-winning two-year-old, he has faced a couple of tough tasks this term but comes here fresher than most after being given a mid-season break by Aidan O'Brien.
He could be the potential class act in the race while Bowerman is also respected for a red-hot outfit in what is an interesting contest.
What they say
Jessica Harrington, trainer of Ancient Spirit
He's in good old form, I'm happy enough with him. He's coming back to a mile and he likes Leopardstown, so hopefully he can go well. He is a grand and consistent horse.
Ado McGuinness, trainer of Bowerman
We're coming back in trip with him and are praying for no rain, the faster the ground the better for him. It's a good race but we're expecting a big run from him.
Tom Hogan, trainer of Nebo
He's in good form and hopefully Leopardstown suits him. He wouldn't want the ground too quick and if it gets very firm I don't think he'd be fond of it. Hopefully the rain comes.
Aidan O'Brien, trainer of Royal Dornoch
He's had a little break and his work has been good since we brought him back. We hope he can return to his two-year-old form. He has been working nicely, so we're hopeful that he's coming back.
Dermot Weld, trainer of Etneya
She won her maiden impressively at the Curragh. She's a nice, progressive filly but this is a big challenge, a big step up for her. We'll see if we can get black type for her.