Bolger seeking first win in race named after his Irish Oaks winner Give Thanks
Irish Stallion Farms EBF Give Thanks Stakes (Group 3) | 3yo+ Fillies and Mares | 1m4f | ATR
A race first run in 2003 and named after Jim Bolger's 1983 Irish Oaks winner, it has yet to be won by the Coolcullen trainer, who will be hoping that changes thanks to Saturday's representative Turret Rocks.
A Group 2 winner who has twice won at this level, Turret Rocks was successful on her most recent start at Leopardstown, where the five-year-old landed the Group 3 Meld Stakes, beating Deauville – who runs at Arlington Park later on Saturday – by a neck.
The race will be her first try over a mile and a half for two years and Kevin Manning's mount faces five rivals, including the Aidan O'Brien-trained pair Sizzling and Clear Skies.
Sizzling was winning for only the second time in 18 attempts when she got up to dead-heat with the Bolger-trained Cimeara in the Listed Vinnie Roe Stakes over a longer trip at Leopardstown last month.
O'Brien, who has sent out four winners of the Give Thanks Stakes, said: "Although she has had plenty of racing we think Sizzling is progressing. We were delighted with her at Leopardstown last time and we don't think the drop back in trip will be a problem for her.
"Clear Skies, too, has had plenty of racing. She has been placed at Listed level and is in good form. Going back up in distance should suit her."
Bloomfield, runner-up to Eziyra in the race a year ago and also second in the Group 3 Munster Oaks over course and distance in June, represents Willie McCreery.
The trainer said: "She's in very good form but I'm doing a rain dance as our filly appreciates ease. We'll have to wait and see, and anyway it's going to be hard to beat the three-year-olds [Sizzling and Kalaxana]."
Kalaxana is on a four-timer having won a maiden, a handicap and, most recently, a Listed race at Roscommon.
She steps into Group 3 company for the first time and trainer Michael Halford said: "She has a bit to find on ratings but she has improved with every run and hopefully she's still on an upward curve. She'll love the ground if they don't get much rain."
Blinkers are back on the John Oxx-trained Naughty Or Nice, who wore them only once previously when her saddle slipped in the Ribblesdale Stakes last year.
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