The feature race on yet another summer Thursday evening card at Leopardstown is the Group 3 Stanerra Stakes over 1m 6f (19:55).
Despite being the eldest of the fillies and mares, True Self has proven stamina on her side.
Trained by Willie Mullins, this six-year-old daughter of Oscar is two from three at the trip for the Closutton handler.
After chasing home Cliffs Of Dooneen on her Flat debut at Bellewstown 12 months ago, True Self bolted up by an easing down nine lengths at Cork.
She was value for tons more than the winning margin after a break, then followed-up when stepping into Listed company at Bath.
That too was a comfortable victory and True Self completed her hat-trick in the James Seymour Stakes at Newmarket in November.
The way in which she readily asserted when down in trip was very impressive. It suggested that connections had a highly versatile and likeable mare on their hands.
True Self went in again on her return to action in the Vintage Tipple at Gowran Park.
She again won more cosily than the eventual winning margin of three-quarters of a length from the re-opposing Jaega, who she now meets on 3lb better terms.
Although then turned over when sent off odds-on for the Group 3 Pinnacle Stakes at Haydock last time out, True Self still stuck to the task well and went down by three lengths to Klassique on heavy going.
She looks well worth another crack at this level, especially as she’s versatile as regards going. back up in trip, and jockey Colin Keane is four from five on her. So, at 5/4 with Coral, True Self appeals most in the Stanerra Stakes.
Last year’s winner Cimeara respected but taken on
The sole course and distance winner in the eight-runner field is Cimeara, who has since left Jim Bolger’s yard for new trainer Joseph O’Brien.
This four-year-old Vocalised filly won this 12 months ago but had race terms in her favour. Cimeara must now carry a stone more than last year, however, and dead-heated with runner-up Sizzling next time up when eased in grade.
She did win on debut for her new stable though, landing a Listed affair at Cork when keeping on well to beat Who’s Steph by half-a-length.
The runner-up has since won twice, bolting up by eight lengths over Moteo who runs here and then the Group 3 Munster Oaks.
While Cimeara has been highly tried in two subsequent starts, she never really got competitive in either the Vintage Crop at Navan or the Curragh Cup last time out.
This is easier than both of those, but she looks more vulnerable to potential improvers off a mark of 101 than top-rated True Self.
That one has 7lb in hand on Cimeara on official figures and comes to the Stanerra Stakes the freshest.
Despite winning five of her 10 starts and the ease in grade here, Cimeara looks opposable at 6/1 with Betfair given the weight-for-age she concedes to younger fillies.
More to come from South Sea Pearl
Ballydoyle maestro Aidan O’Brien has won two of the last four Stanerra Stakes renewals and launched a four-pronged attack at the race this year.
Although Peach Tree is the highest rated of his quartet, South Sea Pearl is the most unexposed and interesting.
This daughter of dual Derby winner and super sire Galileo has a stamina laden pedigree. Her dam bolted up in the Lingfield Oaks Trial in 2005.
South Sea Pearl has a progressive profile and won at the third time of asking after two previous rides under tender handling.
The way she stayed on strongly after being ridden clear approaching the final furlong of a Bellewstown maiden over an extended 1m 4f was impressive.
South Sea Pearl ran out a nine-length winner and had the field strung out like washing. You can question what she beat, but this very taking display suggests the step up in trip is sure to suit.
An opening mark of 92 may also underestimate her ability. As an each-way angle, South Sea Pearl appeals more than Peach Tree who has had chances.
Hitting the frame in the Stanerra Stakes is not out of the question at 13/2 with Ladbrokes now on the upgrade.