With Royal Ascot just around the corner, we have a nice mid-week meeting at Leopardstown on Thursday to whet the appetite, where the feature event is the 7f Group 3 Ballycorus Stakes at 18:15.
Ger Lyons' Dr Zempf expensive son of Dark Angel stuck to 6f throughout a juvenile career that saw him win on debut and then finish second to Go Bears Go in Group 2 company before a good second at the top level to Ebro River in the Phoenix Stakes in August.
He finished his season with a slightly flat eighth in the Middle Park at Newmarket, where he might have been expected to do better given a good draw and decent track position.
Stepped up in trip for his comeback in the Listed 2,000 Guineas Trial over this C&D last time, Dr Zempf was all out to master The Acropolis late on having looked set to win comfortably early in the straight.
It could be that a lack of peak fitness just told a little late on there, but that clearly wasn't the case in the Tetrarch at the Curragh next time, where he shaped like a non-stayer upped to 1m for the first time.
That shouldn't come as a great surprise, Dr Zempf himself possessing a speedy pedigree, and he should be suited by the drop back to down to 7f for this assignment.
That Irish 2,000 Guineas Trial form is just about the best on offer in this contest, particularly when you consider that third that day, New Energy, went on to finish second to Native Trail in the Guineas at the Curragh next time.
Plunkett fancied to give young jockey first winner
Regular readers of this column will know I've been championing the cause of apprentice jockey Danny Gilligan, who looks a rider of some talent but has yet to claim his first win.
I'm hoping that will change in the 7f apprentice handicap at 17:45, where he partners the in-form Plunkett for Paul Flynn.
A winner on his return at Gowran in April, Plunkett then ran really well to finish a narrow second at Limerick on his next start, getting chinned only late on having been prominent throughout.
The son Gleneagles then improved again despite finishing only third at the Curragh last time, where he again gave best only late in the day.
An uncomplicated ride, I expect Gilligan to ride Plunkett prominently and the pair should take plenty of stopping from a handy low draw.
Weld filly could be well treated
Turning attentions to the 1m handicap at 18:45, Dermot Weld's Grappa Nonino is just the sort that her master trainer excels with, and she looks to have been a handed a very workable opening mark of 65.
Bred to be a lot better than this sort of level, the daughter of Teofilo has had three quiet runs in maiden company and now steps into handicaps for the first time with cheekpieces added to the mix.
Her dam is a full sister to the top-class Designs On Rome, and she's also related to a pair of other patter winners.
It's also worth noting that since here debut over 1m, Grappa Nonino has been dropped to 7f, and then to 6f, for her other two starts, both of which wouldn't have seen her to anything like best effect.
She's bred to excel at distances beyond 1m, which is a slight concern for this assignment, particularly as she holds entries over longer trips later on in the week, though I'm prepared to take a chance at what should be a generous price.
Auckland fancied to follow up back on the level
The last race of the day looks a competitive 1m 7f handicap (20:15) but I'd be hopeful hat top weight Auckland may well prove ahead of a mark of 70, particularly with his jockey taking off an extra 3lb.
Anthony Mullins' gelding was a two-time winner for his previous stable in Germany and finally got off the mark for his current yard over hurdles last time, having shaped as if in good form prior to that win at Fairyhouse previously.
This handicap represents a drop in grade from the last few he's contested on the level and I'd be very disappointed of he doesn't put up a bold showing despite having to give weight away.
Henry De Bromhead's Harry's Legacy is relatively unexposed and strikes as the most likely threat to the selection, while recent winner Isaiah should also go well, though I'm hopeful Auckland will have too many guns for that pair.