Who’s Steph is a likeable sort who has proven form at Gowran Park and thus looks the one to be in the extended 1m 1f Group 3 fillies’ feature contest at the Irish venue on Thursday (14:45).
Trained by Ger Lyons, this four-year-old daughter of Zoffany has won once and also been placed in two starts over course and distance.
That success came on her second start this season where she absolutely bolted up and won easing down by eight lengths in a Listed affair run on yielding ground.
Who’s Steph backed that up with a solid second in the Group 3 Blue Wind Stakes at Naas where she got headed close home and beaten a neck by Tarnawa.
She was attempting to give 14lb to the winner who has since landed a Group 3 at Cork and a Group 2 at The Curragh, so in the circumstances it was a blinding effort.
Who’s Steph then resumed winning ways in this grade over 1m 4f in the Munster Oaks when scoring under a hands and heels ride by a length from Peach Tree.
She has since run well to finish third of 14 to Goddess under a penalty in a Listed contest over course and distance, when weakening late on to be beaten 1 3/4 lengths.
The form of the aforementioned races, and especially her second to Tarnawa, read really well in relation to this.
Those performances suggest the ultra-consistent and tough Who’s Steph is going to take all the beating in ground which holds no fears.
Hence, she gets our vote at 2/1 with BetVictor to give weight all-round and bag a sixth career success.
Shenanigans a fascinating contender for Varian
Newmarket handler Roger Varian sends over British raider Shenanigans, and this five-year-old has some useful form in the book which suggests she may well be the main danger to Who’s Steph.
The daughter of Arcano has a fine record on the turf having won three times and been placed on six occasions in 11 starts
She came good at the second time of asking this season when running on strongly to get the better of Exhort by 1 3/4 lengths in a Listed contest over 1m 2f at Ayr.
Shenanigans was the far from disgraced when ninth of 17 to Move Swiftly in the Group 2 Duke Of Cambridge Stakes at Royal Ascot over a 1m trip which was too sharp.
She has since run well to finish a four-length third to Sun Maiden in a Group 3 over 1m 2f at Newcastle, where she stuck to the task well without ever quite threatening to land a blow.
On official adjusted figures she is 5lb inferior to Who’s Steph, but Varian is in fine form at present and wouldn’t be sending her across the Irish Sea if he didn’t think she had a realistic chance of winning.
It makes Shenanigans, a 7/1 shot with Paddy Power, a fascinating contender in the hands of crack Irish jockey Shane Foley.
Credenza the pick of O’Brien trio at Gowran Park
Ballydoyle maestro Aidan O’Brien launches a three-pronged attack on the contest and Credenza looks the clear pick of the trio.
This three-year-old daughter of the mighty Gaileo has won only one of her 12 starts, but has run some solid races in defeat.
Although she finished over nine lengths behind Who’s Steph in a Listed contest over course and distance in May, Credenza has shown improved form since and comes into this on the back of an excellent two-length third to Tarnawa in a Group 2 at The Curragh.
After taking up the running after two furlongs, Credenza got headed three from home and impeded inside the last before being unable to find any extra close home.
It was a career-best effort, and a run which commands her plenty of respect in this lower grade affair.
Credenza is also rated just 2lb below Who’s Steph, but receives 6lb from that rival – so comes out clear on adjusted figures.
That arguably makes her the one to beat, but Credenza finds it hard to get her head in front where it matters most and is therefore opposed at odds of 9/2 with William Hill in our Gowran Park preview.