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Saturday, 15 December, 2018

The key questions as star juvenile fillies lock horns in intriguing showdown

Lady Kaya: all roads lead to the Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes for Lavery's stable star
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3.40 Curragh
Moyglare Stud Stakes (Group 1) | 7f | 2yo | Fillies | RTE2/ATR

Skitter Scatter has been surprising us all season. She shocked us when upstaging 4-9 shot Sergei Prokofiev in a Dundalk maiden in April, and was a 10-1 outsider when stealing the limelight off Goddess in the Silver Flash Stakes at Leopardstown in July. 

The result of the Debutante Stakes at the Curragh last month was not so shocking, but the manner of the victory was stunning as she put clear daylight between herself and the rest of the field, many of whom renew rivalry here. 

Should Skitter Scatter provide her popular trainer Patrick Prendergast with a first Group 1 triumph, surprise would not be the overwhelming feeling. She has now proved herself.

Prendergast said: "She's been dismissed all year. When she beat Sergei Prokofiev at Dundalk, people thought it was just a case of catching him cold. But Aidan O'Brien told me afterwards that I had a really lovely filly as his horse had been working very well.

"I keep telling anybody who'll listen that it's her attitude that has made her what she is. She's a terrier."

Who is the best of the Ballydoyle bunch? 

Happily led home Magical and September in this race last year to give Aidan O'Brien a terrific 1-2-3, but can he repeat the dose this time around? And if so, who is going to finish in what order?

Ryan Moore has opted for Zagitova over Just Wonderful, which muddies the waters a little as she was no match for Skitter Scatter in the Debutante Stakes on her most recent outing. Similar comments apply to Hermosa.

Just Wonderful looked back to her best when scooting away with a Group 3 but Moore has stayed loyal.

O'Brien said: "Ryan liked Zagitova when he rode her to finish third in the Debutante and is looking forward to riding her again.

"Just Wonderful got the trip well when we stepped her up to a mile last time and going down a furlong in trip shouldn't be a problem. She's in good form, as is Hermosa, who won her maiden nicely at Galway before running a bit green when she ran in the Debutante. We've been happy with her since."

Are the British fillies better than the Irish ones?

Sky Lantern [2012], Rizeena [2013] and Cursory Glance [2014] ensured this Group 1 was bossed by the British in the early part of the decade and Main Edition heads a strong away team this time around. 

Main Edition: could be best of the British

The Albany Stakes winner bounced back to form with a straightforward success last time in the Sweet Solera Stakes at Newmarket and has the assistance of Frankie Dettori.

The Charlie Appleby-trained Beyond Reason also arrives at the top of her game having won a pair of 7f Group races at Deauville. 

What the rest say 

Michael O'Callaghan, trainer of Angelic Light
She's come forward from her maiden win and the step up to seven should suit her. A bit of ease will also help. It's a big step up in class but we think she's a smart filly.

Charlie Appleby, trainer of Beyond Reason
She's progressed with every run and comes to this off wins in a Group 2 and Group 3 at Deauville. I expect her to give a good account.

Sheila Lavery, trainer of Lady Kaya
I think the Debutante just came a week to early for her. It was yielding ground and her wheels were just spinning on it as it was raining during the race too. She's been in great form since and we're really looking forward to the race.

Charlie Johnston, assistant trainer of Main Edition
She's had a very good season so far, bar one blip in the Cherry Hinton, and her form is rock solid. She saw out the seven furlongs strongly last time and is a straightforward filly who handles different ground conditions. She goes there in great order and with a very good chance. 

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She's been in great form since and we're really looking forward to the race
E.W. Terms
Sky bet