Make A Challenge primed for Woodlands mission

Make A Challenge will bid to provide trainer Denis Hogan with back-to-back victories in the Anglesey Lodge Equine Hospital Woodlands Stakes at Naas on Monday.

The County Tipperary handler landed the Listed prize with the top-class Sceptical 12 months ago, who went on to finish third in the Diamond Jubilee at Royal Ascot and runner-up in the July Cup at Newmarket before suffering a fatal injury.

Make A Challenge counts five Listed triumphs among his 10 career victories and made a promising start to the new campaign when third behind the reopposing Laugh A Minute at Cork three weeks ago.

Hogan said: “He had a good prep run in Cork and dropping back to five furlongs from six will be good for him.

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“He has actually only run in Naas once, winning the Sole Power Stakes on his first run back last year on good to yielding ground, so five furlongs up in Naas is probably ideal for him. Any bit of rain would be appreciated.

“I suppose there’s a few young guns coming along to take him on now, but he’s in good nick.”

Ado McGuinness saddles both Laugh A Minute and Harry’s Bar.

Laugh A Minute was ultimately a decisive winner at Cork, while Harry’s Bar makes his first start on turf since moving from James Fanshawe’s yard last autumn.

“I’m very happy with both horses,” said McGuinness.

“Laugh A Minute was impressive in Cork and I’m just hoping he can keep that form. I see no reason why he can’t and even go forward.

“At the five mark in Cork, he had them all well stuffed as well. I’m not saying he’s an out-and-out five-furlong horse, but it’s a stiff five in Naas which will be a big help to him.

“Harry’s Bar just got caught wide in Lingfield last time and then the other horse pushed him wider. He lost three or four lengths and to me he was the best horse in the race.

“The big question is will he go on the grass. I think he will. We have Royal Ascot as the target for him in the longer term, but what race we’ll go for there, I don’t know.”

Johnny Murtagh’s Urban Beat and Aidan O’Brien’s pair of Chief Little Hawk and Swiss Ace also feature in an 11-strong field.

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