Racing on Sunday, August 20th in the UK and Ireland takes place at Curragh, Pontefract, Sandown, Southwell (AW) and Tramore.
It is the Irish St Leger Trial at the Curragh where a Dermot Weld-trained filly can showcase what she is capable of over this stayers’ trip and give her trainer a Group Three success on the card in Ireland.
Pontefract 15:25 – Gale Force Maya @ 11/4
Two-time C&D winner GALE FORCE MAYA (11/4) was at the top of her game last summer, scoring in back-to-back races at this level. She has made a slow start to her latest campaign but a third-place finish in a Group Three race at York (6f) last month suggests she could be finding her feet again.
Michael Dods’ mare chased home Swingalong and Royal Acclaim respectively in the Summer Stakes at York. She was conceding 6lb to the winner, so it was an excellent run on the Knavesmire.
The experienced sprinter features on the Betfred Betfinder as one of the Most Napped selections today. She finished second in this race 12 months ago, but this time she can land the top prize in the pick of the races from Pontefract.
Curragh 16:05 – Unless @ 5/2
UNLESS (5/2) stepped up to this 1m2f trip for the first time in her career at this course last week and she appeared to appreciate the extra two furlongs. She stayed on strongly to land the Listed race for Aidan O’Brien.
The daughter of Justify is making a quick reappearance in this Group Three Royal Whip Stakes. It will be the first time she has featured at this level, but she remains open to improvement, especially over this distance.
It has been a solid campaign from the three-year-old so far. She finished fourth of 27 runners in the Sandringham Stakes at Royal Ascot, while she has come home in the frame in all seven appearances this season.
The ground at the Curragh should not be a problem for O’Brien’s filly this afternoon. She looks like the one they all have to beat in this Group Three contest.
Curragh 16:35 – Shamida @ 9/4
SHAMIDA (9/4) is a lightly raced filly who has taken a huge step forward on her last two appearances at Leopardstown. She comes into this Irish St Leger Trial looking to complete a hat-trick of wins.
The daughter of former Derby winner Australia broke her maiden over 1m4f on her penultimate outing. She led inside the final 110 yards of that race where she looked very strong at the finish.
Dermot Weld’s filly then featured over this distance in the Group Three Stanerra Stakes. She was given a very patient ride by jockey Chris Hayes, as the pair left it as late as possible, getting up in the final strides of the contest.
There is likely to be a lot more to come from this improving filly. If she extends her winning run here, it will open a lot of doors for her in the final months of the season.