The feature race at Tipperary on Thursday is the Group 3 Fairy Bridge Stakes over seven-and-a-half furlongs (17:55).
Skitter Scatter is back from a layoff and holds leading claims of victory on her juvenile form.
Now trained by John Oxx of Sea The Stars fame, this daughter of Scat Daddy progressed at a rate of knots during the second half of last season when in the care of Paddy Prendergast.
Skitter Scatter improved when stepped up to 7f after getting touched off and beaten half-a-length by So Perfect in a Group 3 juvenile sprint.
The extra distance was precisely what she needed when going one better in the grade next time up at Leopardstown.
That performance and a comfortable follow-up victory in the Group 2 Debutante Stakes punched Skitter Scatter’s ticket to Irish Champions Weekend.
She triumphed at The Curragh, landing her hat-trick when asserting close home and beating the ill-fated Lady Kaya by a couple of lengths.
Subsequent dual Guineas heroine Hermosa was a further 1 1/4 lengths behind in third during the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes.
You can see why Skitter Scatter was a leading Classic contender for this season. She changed stables, however, leaving Prendergast for Oxx’s yard.
He went straight to Newmarket for the English 1000 Guineas with Skitter Scatter, but she soon lost her place and trailed in an 11-length 14th of 15 behind Hermosa.
Something was clearly amiss. Skitter Scatter tore a muscle and has been off the track since. An official rating of 114 put her a massive 15lb and upwards clear of the field, however, when considering race terms.
If back to her best, then this is hers for the taking. Skitter Scatter is an 11/4 fancy with Boylesports for the Fairy Bridge Stakes.
In-form Surrounding feared most
Mick Halford’s thriving six-year-old mare Surrounding heads the betting and is the one most likely to capitalise if Skitter Scatter doesn’t bounce back.
Owned by Paul and Clare Rooney, the daughter of Lilbourne Lad has won three times this season and also ran well in defeat.
Surrounding had no luck in-running whatsoever in last year’s Fairy Bridge Stakes, but has since scored on five of 10 subsequent starts.
After rounding off her campaign with a couple of all-weather victories at Dundalk, she needed a couple of runs this term before resuming winning ways.
She was also far from disgraced when denied second in the dying strides in a Listed contest over a mile at Leopardstown and third to Flight Risk.
The winner has since won two of four subsequent starts, including when on the upgrade to this level.
Surrounding also ran a mighty race off top-weight in a Premier Handicap at the Irish Derby Festival when chinned on the line and beaten a short-head. As she was giving Crafty Madam a massive 22lb, this was a huge performance.
Given that display, it’s hardly surprising that Surrounding has won both her subsequent starts. She proved she could hang at this level when running out a length victor of the Brownstown Stakes at Fairyhouse.
Surrounding has since followed-up in a Listed race at Cork under a penalty and now meets re-opposing trio Titanium Sky, I Remember You and Fire Fly on 3lb better terms. There’s no reason why she shouldn’t confirm the form.
The only negative is that Surrounding is again giving weight all-round and, while the opposition in general isn’t up to much, she comes out with 16lb to find with Skitter Scatter on adjusted ratings.
For that reason, she’s forecast value at 5/2 with Coral here.
Dan’s Dream each-way value in Fairy Bridge Stakes
Of the others, Dan’s Dream is the most consistent and a solid bet to make the frame. Trained by Mick Channon this four-year-old Cityscape filly won the Group 3 Fred Darling at Newbury last season.
Dan’s Dream also got headed close home in the Fairy Bridge Stakes 12 months ago and went down by half-a-length to One Master.
She finished ahead of Surrounding that day, but as mentioned above that one encountered all sorts of trouble in-running.
The pair are closely matched on adjusted ratings. Dan’s Dream has just 1lb to find on Surrounding off these terms. She was also an unlucky loser on both of her first two starts this term.
Dan’s Dream was headed on the line by Happen in a Group 3 on reappearance. When you consider she was giving the winner 12lb, however, this was a big performance.
She was again unfortunate when bumping into Curragh course specialist Soffia also at this level when dropped back to 6f.
There was just a neck between them in the Ballyogan Stakes, and the winner has since romped to victory in the Group 2 Sapphire Stakes.
A line can be put through Dan’s Dream trailing in last of 17 in the Duke Of Cambridge at Royal Ascot as it took some getting.
Although a beaten favourite in a conditions contest at Thirsk last time out, this may have been the target.
Dan’s Dream thus looks a solid each-way bet on the pick of her form at 8/1 with BetVictor in this.
The 3lb penalty she gets from Surrounding may not be enough to confirm last year’s Fairy Bridge Stakes form, but still gives her every chance of running into a place.