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Mooneista primed for Woodlands repeat

Mooneista begins her quest for a tilt at the Breeders’ Cup when she runs at Naas on Monday.

The daughter of Dandy Man bids to win back-to-back renewals of the Anglesey Lodge Equine Hospital Woodlands Stakes for trainer Jack Davison in a deep renewal of the five-furlong Listed contest.

The four-year-old, who subsequently finished sixth in the Commonwealth Cup before going on to score in the Group Two Sapphire Stakes at the Currragh, has the benefit of a run under her belt this term, finishing a neck runner-up to Power Under Me in the Listed Cork Stakes over six furlongs.

Her Dunboyne handler is hopeful she can build on that effort, ahead of a return to the Royal meeting.

Davison said: “She seems to have come forward since her good performance at Cork and I’m very hopeful she will get competitive.

“There is only so much I will tune up a filly like that first-time out, bearing in mind she has some big back-end targets.

“She is high class but the heavy ground went against her in the Commonwealth Cup that day.”

He went on: “Mooneista is probably going to be better over five (furlongs) this year. She has got a bit quicker with age.

“I’m working back from the Breeders’ Cup, King’s Stand and lofty targets like that. She is a high-class sprinter and she seems to be getting better with age. This is just another stepping stone.

“Hopefully she can go and do the business.”

Top-rated Gustavus Weston won a Curragh Group Two over six furlongs last May and was last seen running down the field in the Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes at Ascot.

The six-year-old Equiano gelding makes his seasonal bow with trainer Joe Murphy hopeful there is enough cut in the ground.

Connections of Gustavus Weston (second right) will keep an eye on the ground
Connections of Gustavus Weston (second right) will keep an eye on the ground (Niall Carson/PA)

He said: “It will be his first run of the year if he runs. We are a bit concerned about the ground and are waiting to see what it will be like. We have had a drying morning over here and he needs a bit of cut. It is in the balance.

“We are delighted with the horse. He will need a run or two, but we will work back from Ascot – and if the ground is right, the six furlong race on the Saturday at Royal Ascot will be the plan.

“At the moment, we are like a fisherman waiting for the right day to fish.”

Also in the line-up is Group One Flying Five winner Romantic Proposal, who was well held in heavy ground on her last start at Longchamp in October.

Trainer Eddie Lynam is hopeful that the six-year-old daughter of Raven’s Pass will come on for the run, with Royal Ascot also on the radar.

Lynam said: “She is having her first start of the season and she hasn’t run since the Prix de l’Abbaye. She is in good form and I hope the race will bring her forward.

Flying Five winner Romantic Proposal makes her seasonal debut
Flying Five winner Romantic Proposal makes her seasonal debut (Brian Lawless/PA)

“The ground is now good, good to firm in places and they are watering, so we will have a look at it before racing, but genuine good, Flat ground will be okay.

“We hope to take her to Ascot. We have made entries for the Tuesday and the Saturday. How she progresses in her first two starts will tell us. I would expect her to come forward a lot for tomorrow.”

Other rivals include Dundalk Listed winner Geocentric, last season’s dual German Group Three winner Majestic Colt, who makes his debut for Denis Hogan, and Logo Hunter, who won Listed contests over course and distance and at Cork last year.

The four-year-old’s trainer, Michael Browne, said: “Logo Hunter is in very good form. He is back down to his racing weight and it is all systems go for tomorrow.”

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