Ballycorus Stakes (Group 3) | 6f181yds | 3yo+ | RTV
Back at home having been loaned out to Fairyhouse for a year, this Group 3 is a real head-scratcher for punters with five of the field rated within 3lb of each other. Indeed, there is just 11lb between all 11 runners on official ratings.
Lord Of The Lodge – bidding to become the first British-trained winner since Naahy won it for Mick Channon in 2004 – is co-top rated along with Monaasib and Pearls Galore, who all boast marks of 108.
The Joseph O'Brien-trained pair, Speak In Colours and Snapraeterea, are identically-rated with marks of 105 while Soul Search, Surrounding and Smash Williams all have three-figure ratings too.
Lord Of The Lodge's last go on grass was in the July Cup, where he trailed in second-last behind Oxted. Since then he had been a model of consistency on the all-weather and the manner of his Good Friday win at Lingfield in an apprentice handicap was very easy on the eye. This is a different ball game altogether, though.
Monaasib was quietly fancied to run a big race in the Irish 2,000 Guineas but he got bogged down in the testing ground and could only finish eighth behind Mac Swiney. His previous third to Poetic Flare in a 2,000 Guineas trial at Leopardstown looks not too shabby now.
Speak In Colours became the third winning favourite on the trot at Fairyhouse last year, following on from Flight Risk (2019) and True Valour (2018), but he has looked a little lethargic of late and arrives here with plenty to prove, so stablemate Snapraeterea could have better claims back over a more suitable trip.
Perhaps the most interesting of all is Pearls Galore, despite the fact this is her first outing since November. She progressed from 87 to 108 last season and looks the type of filly who will continue to prosper at four for the Paddy Twomey stable.
What they say
Joseph O'Brien, trainer of Speak In Colours and Snapraeterea
Speak In Colours is in really good shape. He's had a couple of nice runs this year but has yet to find top form. Hopefully he can step up and run well. Snapraeterea has been a very solid horse for us both last year and this year and he can run a good race in what looks a competitive Group contest. He's dropping in trip, but he is versatile.
Karl Burke, trainer of Lord Of The Lodge
He's in good form and all being well, he should travel over well. The track should suit, the ground will suit and the trip should suit so we're hopeful of a big run.
Paddy Twomey, trainer of Peals Galore
She's ready to start back and we're looking forward to the new campaign. Fast ground is essential to her so that's the reason we've waited until now. The trip and the track should be ideal so I expect her to give a good account of herself.