Brando and Tasleet out to continue British hold on Greenlands Stakes
British trainers have won six of the last ten runnings of the Group 2 Weatherbys Ireland Greenlands Stakes (3.35) and Brando and Tasleet will be bidding to add to that impressive record.
Kevin Ryan landed the prize with Tiddliwinks in 2012 and he reports Brando, winner of the Abernant Stakes on his reappearance before finishing second to Harry Angel in the Duke of York Stakes, in fine fettle.
He said of the six-year-old, who achieved Group 1 success in the Prix Maurice de Gheest last season: "He's in great form. He came out of the race at York very well.
"He's that fresh and well we decided to let him take his chance. He's a proper good horse and he's travelled over well, so we're happy with him."
The trainer said: "He's in good form. I wanted to go back to the Duke of York with him but he had a minor setback at just the wrong time, so this is Plan B.
"He needs the run and it's not ideal to travel them first time, but I expect a good run."
Merchant Navy, a Group 1 winner over this six furlong trip at Flemington in November, will be making his Irish debut having joined Aidan O'Brien after finishing third in a Group 1 at Flemington in March.
The mount of Ryan Moore, the son of Fastnet Rock is one of three runners for O'Brien, who last won the event with Astronomer Royal ten years ago.
O'Brien said: "We've had Merchant Navy for only a short time and I'll be surprised if he's done enough to win.
"We'll be delighted if he runs a nice race. We're going to learn more about him and he should come on well for the run. Royal Ascot is the plan."
The trainer continued: "Intelligence Cross had plenty of experience and will like the track and the good ground as will Spirit Of Valor. We think he's come on a good bit since his first run of the season."
Ger Lyons is represented by Ardhoomey, who has done most of his winning – including in the Listed Sole Power Sprint two weeks ago – over the minimum trip.
O'Brien: Hydrangea will come on for this run
Hydrangea heads a cast of six for the Group 2 Lanwades Stud Stakes (4.45).
A dual Group 1 winner last season, when she landed the Matron Stakes over this one-mile trip at Leopardstown and the Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares over a mile and a half at Ascot, the Ballydoyle filly is the class act in the race but, according to O'Brien, is just ready to start her campaign.
"We're hoping she runs a nice race with maybe Royal Ascot in mind, but she should come on a good bit for the run."
Hydrangea's rivals include the Dermot Weld-trained Making Light, a four-time winner on easy ground, and British raider Opal Tiara, whose trainer Mick Channon said: "She's in foal so we're limited as to where she can run. She looks great and has worked great and everything's spot on."
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