The Curragh hosts two top-class races this Friday and the first of those is the Group 3 Ballyogan Stakes – a valuable fillies’ sprint contest over 6f (19:10).
Lethal Promise comes out 2lb well-in on adjusted figures with top rated Dan’s Dream because she gets 8lb weight-for-age from her elders, so appeals most at 6/1 with William Hill.
This three-year-old daughter of Invincible Spirit hails from the in-form yard of Willie McCreery, who is operating at a 26 per cent strike rate in the last 14 days at the time of writing.
In Lethal Promise, he has a filly that has won three of her seven starts and also run some big races in defeat.
After chasing home subsequent Group 2 winner Just Wonderful going down by a neck on just her second start, she bolted up by 6 1/2 lengths at Naas.
Lethal Promise was then far from disgraced when a four-length fourth in a Group 3 over course and distance. She finished behind some very hot juvenile prospects there, including So Perfect and Skitter Scatter.
While a UK debut at Newbury didn’t work out for Lethal Promise, an ease in grade to Listed level back on Irish soil saw her land the Blenheim Stakes at Fairyhouse by 1 3/4 lengths on her final start of last season.
Based on that form, she has nothing to fear from Mia Mento who re-opposes off level weights. Lethal Promise has also come out and won her first start of this campaign, scoring by 1 1/4 lengths in another Listed contest at Cork.
With the stable in fine form and regular jockey Billy Lee once again aboard, plenty points to her making this step up in grade. Lethal Promise is thus readily put up off these terms.
Dan’s Dream the obvious danger
Despite giving 8lb away to the three-year-olds, British raider Dan’s Dream is respected dropping back in trip for trainer Mick Channon. This-four-year-old Cityscape filly has been unlucky and highly tried at times.
After making rapid progress at the start of last season to land a novice contest at Bath and then the Group 3 Fred Darling at Newbury, connections pitched Dan’s Dream into Classic company but she was only tenth to shock 1000 Guineas heroine Billesdon Brook.
A mile seemed to stretch her stamina – something demonstrated again later when last of seven to the ultra-tough Laurens in the Group 1 Fastnet Rock Matron Stakes on Irish Champions Weekend at Leopardstown.
Prior to that, however, Dan’s Dream was far from disgraced when just touched off half-a-length by One Master in a Group 3 over 7f at Tipperary.
That run confirmed Glorious Goodwood form where she shaped better than the bare result of 11th suggests, as she was beaten less than five lengths in the Oak Tree Stakes.
Dan’s Dream rounded off her campaign with a solid 2 1/4 lengths fourth in the Group 3 Concorde Stakes back at Tipperary.
She was desperately unlucky on reappearance here to get headed in the final stride and lose a short-head to Happen.
When you consider Dan’s Dream was giving 12lb weight-for-age away to the winner of the Athasi Stakes, this was a massive effort.
She could also come on for that return to action and only has 2lb to find on Lethal Promise off these terms here.
This is the fourth consecutive race that Dan’s Dream goes off her current mark of 107. If running up to it, then she can give Lethal Promise plenty to think about and is 100/30 with 888Sport to overcome our fancy.
Bow down to The King in Silver Stakes
In the Listed 1m 2f Silver Stakes (19:40), The King could earn some compensation after running a string of solid races in defeat for trainer Jessica Harrington.
Although this four-year-old Mastercraftsman colt has only won one of his 10 career starts, that simply doesn’t tell the whole story.
His Gowran Park maiden victory over 1m has a good look to it as the runner-up Imaging has since scored at this level and above.
The King was soon in handicap company as a three-year-old last season, but ran with real credit when a length third in the Vinnie Roe at Leopardstown giving 5lb away to two horses that dead-heated.
He filled the same spot when going down by a similar margin to Irish Derby runner-up Rostropovich in a Group 3 on Irish Champions Weekend at Leopardstown. The King then chased home the ill-fated Sir Erec in a Listed affair at Limerick.
Given he was only beaten half-a-length and the winner went on to land a Grade 1 juvenile hurdle, the form has a solid look to it.
The King then ran a huge race in the Group 2 Mooresbridge over course and distance on reappearance.
As he was meeting Magical – a filly rated more than a stone superior – off level weights and was only beaten 1 3/4 lengths in third, this was a terrific display.
It’s also worth remembering The King had last year’S Irish Derby hero Latrobe a neck behind him.
This is far easier and a repeat of that performance on similarly forecast good-to-yielding ground means there’s lots to like about the chances of The King at 9/4 with 888Sport now down in grade.
Old Glory and Riven Light respected
If there is one slight concern, it’s that The King must give 13lb weight-for-age to three-year-old Aidan O’Brien runner Old Glory and their ratings are only 8lb apart.
That makes this three-year-old son of Frankel the main danger off these terms, especially as he is lightly-raced and unexposed over the trip.
Old Glory hasn’t really made many strides from winning his Naas maiden as a juvenile as he’s failed to go in again since.
After finishing a gallant runner-up on the all-weather in a Listed event at Dundalk, he was just denied second when beaten 1 1/4 lengths by Coral Beach in a Group 3 at Leopardstown.
Old Glory was only a weakening ninth on reappearance in the Irish 2000 Guineas over a mile, but his sire was very handy over 10 furlongs.
Off a 102 rating, odds of 6/1 with Betfair cannot be ignored as he comes out as the top three-year-old just ahead of Guaranteed.
Leading the ratings, meanwhile, is the Willie Mullins trained seven-year-old gelding Riven Light.
Sporting the famous pink and green spotted colours of Rich and Susannah Ricci, he is six from 16 on the level.
Connections have twice plundered the valuable Mile Handicap at the Galway Festival with Riven Light, and he is also a Listed winner from the Listowel Harvest Festival two years ago.
He hasn’t won over the trip for almost four years and, as the oldest in the line-up, is open to the least progress.
Mullins’ mount comes to The Curragh a fresh horse, however, and it would be no surprise to see him involved in the finish at 2/1 with Bethard here.