Harlequeen is ready to rule
Channon's British raider prepared to take on Weld and O'Brien horses in Cork battle
Trainer Mick Channon is taking nothing for granted as Harlequeen bids to make the most of a drop in class in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Give Thanks Stakes at Cork tomorrow.
The daughter of Canford Cliffs may be winless this season but she has produced some fine efforts in defeat, finishing fourth in the Musidora Stakes at York and third in both the Investec Oaks at Epsom and the Irish Oaks at the Curragh.
She drops to Group Three level for her latest assignment and Channon is keeping his fingers crossed his star filly can gain what he feels would be a deserved success.
The West Ilsley handler said: "She looks to have a great chance, but it's never easy when you're up against the likes of Aidan O'Brien and Dermot Weld. It's not a gimme, that's for sure.
"She's in very good form and we've been very happy with her since the (Irish) Oaks.
"We want to get her back winning again before hopefully stepping back up for something more sexy later on.
"She's tough enough to go back to Ireland again, so fingers crossed."
O'Brien saddles Irish Oaks fifth Somehow, who is fitted with a visor for the first time, and Best In The World.
The Ballydoyle maestro's son, Joseph, is represented by Arya Tara, who steps up in grade after four consecutive victories.
Weld's Munster Oaks runner-up Shamreen also features in a nine-strong field, as does another British raider in Jedd O'Keeffe's More Mischief.
Rose De Pierre puts her unbeaten record on the line in the Platinum Stakes at the same venue tomorrow.
Dermot Weld's stoutly-bred filly justified cramped odds when she made a winning introduction at the Curragh in May and followed up on her nursery debut on Irish Oaks weekend.
She steps up to Listed class for her hat-trick bid and faces plenty of talented opponents, including the highly-rated Sruthan.
Fiona Craig, breeding advisor to the owners Moyglare Stud Farm, said: "It looks like they got a bit of rain in Cork overnight and the plan is to run.
"I don't think she'd want extremes of ground, just like her mother (Profound Beauty), but hopefully conditions will be A1.
"We were quite keen to step up to a mile and a quarter in the Blandford Stakes, but Pat (Smullen) is adamant we should stick to a mile for the time being as she has too much pace, which isn't a bad thing.
"It's quite a tough race as she's taking on older geldings.
"She basically fell in on her first run and definitely improved from that.
"Hopefully she'll improve again.
"She's done nothing wrong so far and we can continue onwards and upwards."
Paul Deegan's Sruthan is the highest-rated runner in the 11-strong field with a mark of 110, although the 103-rated Rose De Pierre does receive just over a stone in weight due to her age and sex allowances.
Other contenders include Jim Bolger's course and distance winner Flight Risk and David Marnane's battle-hardened campaigner Elleval.