Balansiya camp eye the skies

Last Updated: 29/03/14 9:33pm

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Pat Smullen: Rides Balansiya

Pat Smullen: Rides Balansiya

Sky Bet

Jockey Pat Smullen is keeping his fingers crossed conditions on Sunday do not deteriorate as Balansiya prepares to test the water at Pattern level in the Leopardstown 1,000 Guineas Trial.

The Dermot Weld-trained three-year-old did not make her juvenile debut until early November, but it was worth the wait as the Shamardal filly pulled upwards of seven lengths clear over this course and distance.

Balansiya is a best priced 25-1 for the Qipco 1000 Guineas at Newmarket on May 4 and connections are keen to find out whether a Classic bid is realistic.

Smullen said: "She's a filly we like at home and she seems in good form.

"I'm sure whatever she goes on Sunday she'll improve from it and we're looking forward to getting her started.

"Hopefully she'll run a big race, as long as the ground isn't too soft.

"If she's going to be a Guineas contender, seven furlongs should be fine for her."

Another once-raced maiden winner in the line-up is John Oxx's Harry's Princess, who was not extended to win at Dundalk.

Trainer John Oxx said: "We could probably have done without the hold-up she had last month and it's a big step up in class from a Polytrack maiden to a Group Three at Leopardstown.

"She is a nice filly, but has no fancy entries at this stage and we'll just feel our way."

Avenue Gabriel arguably sets the standard, having won a Curragh Listed event last September before finishing fifth in the Group One Fillies' Mile at Newmarket a fortnight later.

Trainer Paul Deegan said: "She's a filly we're looking forward to going up in trip with, eventually.

"But with the slower ground, the owners were keen to start her off over shorter to find out whether she could be a possible Guineas candidate.

"She's probably more of a 10- and 12-furlong filly, but we'll give it a go and we'll find out whether she can be competitive in the better races at a mile.

"She doesn't have a lot to find as she was only beaten four and a half lengths in a Group One on very fast ground, so it's worth trying it out.

"If she runs well on Sunday we could think about putting her in the Irish 1,000 Guineas at the second stage.

"If she's not up to it, we'll look forward to stepping her up and aiming towards something like the Oaks."

Aidan O'Brien holds a formidable hand, with Bracelet, Marvellous and Sparrow already on the scoresheet.

Queen Of Power, Remember You and Tirghra complete the nine-runner field.

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