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Opening fillies' maiden can throw up another star on Irish Derby weekend

Aidan O'Brien: trains Magical
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The Westgrove Hotel Fillies Maiden (5.45), which gets Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby weekend under way, has produced smart sorts in recent times.

The race was won two years ago by subsequent multiple Group 1 winner Alice Springs and a year ago by subsequent Group 3 winner, Rehana, who beat Rhododendron and Sea Of Grace.

Rhododendron became a Group 1 winner later last season and was runner-up in both the Qipco 1,000 Guineas and the Investec Oaks this year while Sea Of Grace finished second in the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches last month.

Friday's renewal of the 7f event has attracted a field of ten, including the Aidan O’Brien-trained duo of Sizzling, who will be making her debut, and Happily, who was beaten ten lengths behind subsequent Chesham Stakes winner September on her debut at Leopardstown.

O’Brien said on Thursday: “Happily ran a nice race behind September at Leopardstown and we think and hope that she has progressed since. Sizzling is a nice sort and is just ready to start off. We're hoping they both run well."

Raynama, a Siyouni half-sister to last year's winner Rehana, makes her debut for Dermot Weld and the Aga Khan while Jim Bolger is represented by Back At Dawn who finished fifth behind September on her debut at Leopardstown.

Back At Dawn and Happily both finished behind Chesham winner September (pictured) last time
Gold Spinner, withdrawn from the Hampton Court Stakes at Royal Ascot six days ago, heads the weights for the Silken Thomas & Lock 13 Handicap (8.20). The Ger Lyons-trained colt will be bidding for a hat-trick on his handicap debut.

The son of Pivotal, who won a maiden at Cork in April and followed up at Navan earlier this month, will be stepping up to 1m2f for the first time under top weight of 9st 12lb.

Gold Spinner’s six rivals include the Jim Bolger-trained Clongowes who had his consistency rewarded when scoring over an extended 1m4f at Down Royal six days ago having finished in the first three on all of his seven previous starts.

Gelded since he last ran in April, the Dermot Weld-trained Aasheq will be visored for the first time when he faces ten rivals in the mile maiden (6.15).


Friday's Curragh card

Happily ran a nice race behind September at Leopardstown and we think and hope that she has progressed since
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