Mooneista is “100 per cent” on course for her second Group One assignment in the Derrinstown Stud Flying Five Stakes at the Curragh.
Jack Davison reports his vastly-improved filly to be thriving since her Sapphire Stakes victory last month, and ready to return over course and distance on Longines Irish Champions Weekend.
Mooneista is likely to face Gustavus Weston again on Sunday – among plenty more sprinting luminaries – having beaten Joe Murphy’s stable star into second in the Sapphire.
County Meath trainer Davison is confident of continued progress, however, from his three-year-old – who has already had one shot at the top level this summer, outrunning big odds to finish a creditable sixth in heavy ground at Royal Ascot in the Commonwealth Cup.
“Everything is 100 per cent,” he said, in anticipation of the Flying Five.
“We’re well on track and really looking forward to running her.
“The (Sapphire Stakes) form looks good, and she won really well the last day.
“So I wouldn’t be afraid to reoppose anything that ran against us in the Sapphire. We’re looking forward to seeing what else turns up, but we’ll be ready to go.”
Mooneista managed just a maiden win from seven attempts as a juvenile – although she did also finish second at Listed level.
She has been a revelation this season, as a Listed and most recently Group Two winner, rising more than a stone and a half in the ratings.
Davison was always convinced she would be capable of much better as she matures, however.
“I did really think that she was going to improve with age, because the pedigree would suggest that,” he said.
“Physically, she was only a handful last year – so I kind of thought she would grow as well, and the stronger they get with sprinters they tend to get a bit quicker as well.
“I thought she had the pace to make up into a black-type sprinter as a three-year-old, but she’s just shown me something extra this year.
“I think a big part of it is she needs a good gallop – the better the race, the better she’ll be, and she’s got her confidence now and knows how to race and finish.”
Mooneista has clearly begun to show the benefit of her experience.
Davison added: “I just think sprinting takes a bit of practice, and I would put the extra improvement down to just her knowing exactly what to do now.
“I suppose last year she was just kind of figuring it out, and we got the win, and she got her black type – but I never really felt she had got it together yet.
“She has this year, and she’s shaping really well.”
Mooneista has shown she can be adaptable to ground variations
“She’s versatile,” said Davison.
“Over five, even if it came up heavy, it wouldn’t be ideal because she has pace – but I’d (still) be running her.
“She doesn’t want extremes really, but she’s going to run either way. She’s not likely to get an extreme of ground – most suitable for her would be easy side of good, in an ideal world.”
The hope is that dual champion jockey Colin Keane will be available to ride again, having clicked with Mooneista last time, but Davison is mindful that he could yet be claimed to ride Ger Lyons’ Frenetic if that old rival is in opposition again.
“We’ll just have to sit and wait a little bit,” he said.
“But I really hope we do have Colin, because he’s in a league of his own at the minute, and he’s really helped my filly.”