Joseph O'Brien has saddled the winner of the Listed Edmund & Josie Whelan Memorial Listowel Stakes for the last two seasons and he relies on three contenders to extend his winning run but Kingswood rates a strong contender for the John O'Donoghue stable after a cracking effort on his latest start.
The three-year-old is the top-rated in the 14-runner field and returned from a ten-week break when finishing runner-up in a fiercely competitive renewal of a Curragh premier handicap nine days ago. The three-year-old was burdened with a hefty weight but travelled smoothly into contention at the two-furlong pole and struck the front with a decisive turn of foot, only to be run down in the closing stages by Crystal Black.
Given that was only the sixth start for the Roaring Lion colt, further improvement could be forthcoming and a step forward on his Curragh effort would make him a tough nut to crack.
O'Brien's three runners are all stepping up in trip and the pick may be Miramis who has been in fine form over seven furlongs. She landed a Listed race at the Galway festival before running another commendable race when third behind Clever And Cool in a Group 3 at Tipperary this month.
The five-year-old won a handicap over this trip 12 months ago and should go well under Dylan Browne McMonagle.
Blues Emperor ran a fine race in the Irish Cambridgeshire for Johnny Murtagh on his latest start, just being collared by Coeur D'Or after being up with a strong pace throughout, while the Jessica Harrington-trained Snowcapped has proved consistent at Listed and Group level in recent starts.
Alanya could be an interesting outsider as she ran a cracker on her penultimate start when she made eyecatching late headway off a slow pace to finish third behind Unless and Azazat. She will have to bounce back from a disappointing effort in the Group 2 Blandford Stakes since but she has the ability to feature.
Johnny Murtagh, trainer of Blues Emperor
I thought he ran very well at the Curragh and he's come out of it great, so we're looking forward to stepping him up to Listed company. He won at the track last year as well so we're hopeful.
Tom Gibney, trainer of Alanya
Hopefully she can come back to the form when she was third at the Curragh last month. We were disappointed the last day, she didn't run her race and we don't know why.
John O'Donoghue, trainer of Kingswood
We gave him a mini-break for the summer as we got him ready fairly early for his maiden and the Gallinule. He ran a screamer at the Curragh. I have no reservations about the trip and I think he's better with a dig in the ground.
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