Jim Bolger's Mac Swiney has an opportunity to stamp some authority on the Epsom Derby picture when lining up in Sunday's feature at Leopardstown.
Having secured 2000 Guineas glory with Poetic Flare last weekend, the team of Bolger and jockey Kevin Manning turn their classic focus to Mac Swiney and his return to action in the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial.
Last year’s Futurity winner tackles seven opponents in a Group Three contest that also includes Aidan O’Brien’s Bolshoi Ballet.
On Saturday O’Brien runs both Kyprios and Carlisle Bay in Saturday’s Lingfield Derby Trial on the back of the highly rated High Definition having to miss out due to an unsatisfactory blood test.
High Definition remains a general 5-1 favourite for the Derby although whether or not he can have a vital preparation race in Thursday’s Dante in York instead is unclear.
With four weeks to Epsom it all makes for a notably blurry outlook to racing’s blue-riband event.
Chester's two Derby trials were far from conclusive so attention switches to Lingfield which saw the ill-fated Anthony Van Dyck take a successful step to Epsom glory two years ago.
Frankie Dettori made classic hay with Ryan Moore's discarded Mother Earth in the 1000 Guineas last Sunday and will hope for the same on Carlisle Bay.
It's no surprise though to see Moore opt for Kyprios, a Galileo colt that beat O'Reilly and Colour Sergeant – both previous winners – at Cork last month.
Kyprios didn’t look straightforward on that occasion and got Seamus Heffernan a six-day whip ban which the rider subsequently appealed successfully.
First-time cheekpieces are applied here in a contest where Godolphin’s Adayar will try to build on an encouraging run in the Sandown trial.
He is a general 12-1 shot in Derby betting, twice the odds of Kyprios.
Uncertainty over High Definition means his stable companion Bolshoi Ballet is second favourite for Epsom.
Should he build on his Ballysax success last month and win the Derrinstown impressively those positions are likely to flip-flop.
It may be almost two decades since High Chaparral completed a hat-trick of Derrinstown winners graduating to Derby glory at Epsom but it remains a major test of a classic prospect.
The illustrious trio of High Chaparral, Galileo and Sinndar all ran in the Ballysax prior to the Derrinstown and Bolshoi Ballet and three others in Sunday's race are on the same route.
Mac Swiney, like High Chaparral, won at the top level at Doncaster the year before and the general 12-1 shot for Epsom looks the most intriguing contender this Sunday.
On the back of Poetic Flare’s Guineas success, Bolger and Manning made clear the colt named after the former mayor of Cork, who died on hunger strike 101 years ago, has been working at a similar level.
Mac Swiney landed the Doncaster Futurity on heavy ground and the Curragh version on soft.
Mac Swiney’s Derby credentials
Even with forecast rain, Leopardstown’s going is likely to be quicker than that and provide a substantial test of Mac Swiney’s Derby credentials.
Should he pass with flying colours the odds on another classic victory for the Bolger-Manning team are likely to tumble.
There could also be classic clues in the Group Three Blue Wind Stakes at Naas on Saturday.
A handful of three-year-old fillies take on their elders in the 10-furlong contest including Peeping Fawn’s daughter, Willow, who is a 33-1 shot for the Epsom Oaks.
That’s despite a less than convincing reappearance in the Salsabil at Navan where Sacred Rhyme caught the eye in third.
Despite that Shane Foley is aboard Sacred Rhyme's older stable-mate Silence Please.
Joseph O'Brien runs two in a later conditions event including Dundalk winner Ratib who holds an Epsom Derby entry.
The trainer runs three in Sunday’s 1000 Guineas Trial which could enable Acanella to earn herself a shot at the top level.
Ger Lyons’s well-bred filly made a winning debut over the course and distance last month when proving two lengths too good for Climate.
The pair clash again and are even drawn together in the two inside berths.
Acanella looked in control throughout that maiden success and despite conceding experience to most of her opposition can remain unbeaten.