SAPPHIRE SHINE; IRISH RACING: FOCUS ON TODAY'S MEETING AT CORK Weld's in-form mare can hold off Bible Belt challenge to cap great week for trainer.
DERMOT WELD can round off another excellent week by landing the featured Group 3 Give Thanks Stakes at Cork this afternoon.
Fresh from another industrious week at Galway, the Rosewell House trainer sends Sapphire into battle for this mile and a half contest.
Two months ago Sapphire produced a superb display over this course and distance to land the Noblesse Stakes with any amount to spare.
She then followed that stylish comeback with a cracking effort in the Pretty Polly Stakes at The Curragh.
Although she had to settle for second place in that Group 1 event, Sapphire lost nothing in defeat to Izzi Top. That level of form makes her the one to beat here, and it will be a big surprise if she gets turned over.
Bible Belt looks the biggest danger - although this filly was a long way below her best on her comeback at the Curragh in May when fourth to So You Think.
However it is worth recalling that Bible Belt did develop into a very classy sort last term.
She ended her campaign with a fine second to Dancing Rain at Ascot and a return to that form would make her a danger.
Weld looks to have good prospects of a double with his Angel Bright getting the vote in the six-furlong handicap.
She was never able to land a blow last time, but that run came in a decent Listed event at Fairyhouse.
The Dark Angel filly is far better judged on the form that saw her chase home the rapid improver Custom Cut in a handicap here in June.
The drop back in distance will hold no fears for Angel Bright and she is preferred to last week's Tipperary scorer Cape Of Approval.
This afternoon's card also plays host to a cracking Platinum Stakes where Akeed Mofeed and the Royal Ascot scorer Duntle do battle. Akeed Mofeed was well beaten on his return to action in the Irish Derby but he did run much better than final position would suggest.
Last season the John Oxx-trained runner developed into a high class juvenile and if he can return to that level he might just have the beating of Duntle.
jle o That David Wachman inmate is running for the first time since landing the Sandringham Handicap at Royal Ascot.
rla aec She has progressed well with every run this season and there could yet be more to come from this daughter of Danehill Dancer.
d The opening two-year-old maiden is a fascinating event with Three Sea is Captains and Wexford Opera squaring off. Three Sea Captains made a fine start to his career when finishing second to Grafelli at Naas last month.
The winner of that race has gone on to boost the form with two Group 3 wins and, on that form, Three Sea Captains sets quite a standard.
Wexford Opera was well touted prior to his debut at Leopardstown in June, and ran a solid race to chase home Pedro The Great.
The New Approach colt also has the better draw but preference is for the Wachman inmate.
In the concluding maiden Overcall is put forward as the solution following an encouraging debut fourth at Fairyhouse.
Elsewhere Mulleady is a well handicapped sort on the flat and she makes plenty of appeal to in the second division of the mile-and-ahalf maiden.
GIVING THANKS: Trainer Dermot Weld THINGSapphire (left) goes head-tohead with Izzi Top at The Curragh * CLOSE