Willie McCreery accepts Ylang Ylang is the one to beat in the Moyglare Stud Stakes at the Curragh on Sunday – but is ready to take her on again with Vespertilio.
The pair met in the Group Three Silver Flash Stakes at Leopardstown towards the end of July, when Aidan O’Brien’s charge ran out a convincing victor by one and a half lengths.
But Vespertilio ran a very encouraging race, coming through from the rear to finish nicely clear of the rest.
The daughter of Night Of Thunder confirmed that promise when landing the Group Two Debutante Stakes over seven furlongs at the Curragh under another patient ride from Billy Lee.
Stepping up to elite level over the same course and distance is an obvious move, and McCreery is keen to see how Vespertilio fares against Ylang Ylang this time.
“She’s a lovely filly and it was a nice run last time,” said the trainer. “The going is down as good for Sunday and it may well quicken up a bit before her race, but it was similar ground last month.
“Ylang Ylang is the obvious one we’ve got to beat, but if you’re not in it, you can’t win it.
“We’ll just let Billy see how the race pans out before he decides how to take things, but we’re looking forward to it, that’s for sure.”
Ylang Ylang is already favourite for next year’s 1000 Guineas and will bid to give Aidan O’Brien a record-extending 10th win in this race.
“She’s done everything we’ve asked of her so far,” said O’Brien.
“She won nicely the last day, but I thought the second filly (Vespertilio) was coming home very well with her.
“She’s in good form and she’s ready to go again. Seven furlongs and fast ground she’s already proved she likes as she won at the Curragh first time out.
“It is another step up again for her, though.”
The Ballydoyle handler is also represented by outsiders Brilliant and Pearls And Rubies, who was a beaten favourite in fifth behind Vespertilio here last time.
Dermot Weld seeks to follow last season’s success with Tahiyra by saddling Frankel filly Red Viburnum, who caught the eye when making late headway in third on her Curragh debut behind A Lilac Rolla.
“She’s come on for her first run, when she ran very well,” said Fiona Craig of owners Moyglare Stud. “To give Chris Hayes his due, he dropped her in behind and taught her and I’ve seen her work since and she worked much sharper.
“I think it was more greenness than anything and it took a few strides for the penny to drop, but she galloped out way beyond the others at the end.
“She’ll have moved on a bit since then, whether she’s moved on enough to win this race is another matter, but all you can do is compete and see.”
The Dominic Ffrench Davis-trained Ornellaia has already shown she travels, chasing home Les Pavots in the Group Two Prix du Calvados at Deauville.
Tom Pennington, racing manager for Amo Racing, commented: “She’s a filly we hold in high regard and she won her maiden at Goodwood in impressive style.
“She went to France then and I thought she ran a very good race in the Prix du Calvados. She had to cut out her own running which is always tricky, but still managed to run a nice race.
“She’s in good form, she came out of Deauville well and this has always been the plan. My only slight concern would be the ground and I think she is better with a bit of ease in the ground, so that would be the slight worry.”
Karl Burke also travels across the Irish Sea with Fallen Angel, who galloped on well to win the Group Three Sweet Solera Stakes at Newmarket.
Albany Stakes scorer Porta Fortuna is back against her own sex after performing with credit versus the colts when second to Bucanero Fuerte in the Group One Phoenix Stakes.
Donnacha O’Brien has booked Frankie Dettori to ride the daughter of Caravaggio.