Comer Group International Loughbrown Stakes (Group 3) | 2m, 3yo+ | RTV
Where better to start than the filly who won this race last year by seven lengths. Kastasa was only three at the time and was contesting her first stakes race, but she burst clear inside the final furlong to register her fourth victory in a row.
That proved to be her final outing of 2019, but she made a winning start to her four-year-old campaign in a Listed event at Gowran Park in July and it seemed as though another successful season was in store.
The first blot on her copybook since May of last year arrived in the Stanerra Stakes at Naas last month where she ran in snatches and could only finish third to Passion despite being sent off 6-5 favourite.
To try and counteract that lazy streak, Dermot Weld has reached for a visor. If it helps her race more enthusiastically, her nine rivals will struggle to take this crown off her.
Kastasa is rated 108, an identical mark to Dawn Patrol, but she must give 7lb away to her younger rival who gets the three-year-old allowance.
Dawn Patrol was third to Santiago in the Irish Derby and, while a beaten odds-on favourite in a Listed race at Leopardstown in August, it turns out there was absolutely no shame in being beaten a length by the rapidly improving Pista.
Since then Dawn Patrol has finished sixth in the St Leger and he looks as though he is crying out for a step up to two miles. If he is the thorough stayer we think he is, it will take a big performance to beat him.
Traisha was a place in front of Kastasa at Naas, while Joseph O'Brien also runs useful French recruit Mighty Blue, but both will need a career-best if they are to take this prize back to Owning Hill.
Barrington Court might only be a 124-rated hurdler, but she's blossomed for a switch to the Flat and has conditions in her favour.
However, this could boil down to a straight shootout between Dawn Patrol and Kastasa with preference for last year’s winner in the hope that a visor will bring out the best in her.
What they say
Jessica Harrington, trainer of Barrington Court
Since we told her she doesn’t have to jump any hurdles, she's been a revelation. I just hope they get plenty of rain at the Curragh as the softer the better for her.
Dermot Weld, trainer of Kastasa
She's been a very consistent filly for me and she was a very good winner of the race last year. The visor is just to help her concentrate a bit more.
Joseph O'Brien, trainer of Mighty Blue and Traisha
Traisha already has some black type this season and has been running consistently well since she's arrived. She's in great form. The trip would have to be a bit of a concern for Mighty Blue but, if she stays and runs up to her rating, she would have to be there or thereabouts.
Aidan O'Brien, trainer of Dawn Patrol, Elizabethofaragon and Prose
Dawn Patrol is in good form and we think he will get the trip. We probably rode him a bit too far back in the St Leger and we think he's better than that. Elizabethofaragon and Prose are two thorough stayers who are in good form and will keep going.