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Mehnah camp mull big-race targets

Connections of Mehnah are to mull over the options after the impeccably-bred filly returned from a setback to win the Cairn Rouge Stakes at Killarney.

The half-sister to 2016 Irish 2,000 Guineas victor Awtaad missed Group One engagements in the Irish 1,000 Guineas and the Coronation Stakes after pulling a muscle – but he made up for lost time with a stylish performance in Wednesday’s Listed contest over a mile.

It was only the daughter of Frankel’s third race, and her trainer Kevin Prendergast believes she will improve again, especially over a longer distance.

“We were happy with her. She did everything right, but we haven’t just decided where we’re going to go yet,” he said.

“We have the Cordell Laverack at Gowran in mind, but we will see how she comes out of the race in the next 10 days.

“We’ll see how she gets on. She has an entry in the Matron Stakes at Leopardstown, and we’ll make an entry in the Prix de l’Opera.

“We have a few options, but we haven’t made any decisions. I’ll talk to (owners’ racing manager) Angus Gold and see what he says.

“She’ll probably be all the better for going an extra couple of furlongs.”

Mehnah sparkles on Rouge return at Killarney

Mehnah looked an exciting filly as she started to make up for lost time with an eye-catching performance to win the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Cairn Rouge Stakes at Killarney.

The Kevin Prendergast-trained three-year-old overcame a wide draw on her return following a setback that prevented her from running in the Irish 1,000 Guineas and the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot.

The daughter of Frankel, who is a half-sister to 2016 Irish 2,000 Guineas victor Awtaad, showed her class in this Listed contest on what was only her third career start.

She was given a patient ride by Chris Hayes as Holly Golightly, Queen’s Speech and Thinking Of You were to the fore in the early stages.

Mehnah (2-1 favourite) improved her position steadily and came with a strong challenge on the outside in the straight to lead inside the final furlong.

Wearing the famous blue and white colours of Shadwell Estate, she won cosily by three-quarters of a length from Emaniya with Thinking Of You a length away in third place.

Hayes said: “She had an awkward, niggly injury 10 days before the Guineas and it was baby steps since making sure it didn’t come back. It is a muscle up high behind and she was very under cooked but fit enough for today’s level – we have her 75-80% fit.

“I’d imagine he’ll (Prendergast) want to go up in trip with her and maybe the Group Three over a mile and a furlong at Gowran could be a target. I think she is a Group One filly and I think she would be a good ride in the Matron or Sun Chariot.

“People don’t realise, but (from stall 16) you are basically on the road and had to cover a lot of ground. I got in as best I could but from two and a half furlongs down I’ve had to come widest of all and she has taken a blow.

“She is a very good filly.”

Mehnah ready to sparkle on Rouge return

One-time Classic hope Mehnah bids to get back on the winning trail in Wednesday’s Irish Stallion Farms EBF Cairn Rouge Stakes at Killarney.

A winner on her racecourse debut at Dundalk in the autumn, Kevin Prendergast’s filly made a most encouraging start to her three-year-old campaign when narrowly beaten in the 1,000 Guineas Trial at Leopardstown in April.

A tilt at the Irish 1,000 Guineas was firmly on the agenda before injury intervened, meaning she will make her first competitive appearance in three months in Wednesday’s Listed contest.

Angus Gold, racing manager for Mehnah’s owners Shadwell Estate, said: “She ran a very good race (at Leopardstown) and we were aiming for the (Irish) Guineas before unfortunately she pulled a muscle behind, which meant we had to ease up on her.

“She’s back in good form apparently. Obviously being drawn highest of all doesn’t necessarily make the task any easier, but other than that it’s a perfect race for her and I spoke to Kevin and he seems very happy.

“We’ll try to win a stakes race with her first. If that goes well, we can look around and have a bit of fun with her.

“The interesting thing with her will be what her trip is. She just got beaten over seven furlongs in the Guineas trial, this race is a mile and I’d always imagined she’d be a mile-and-a-quarter filly, but I don’t know that.

“Let’s try to get her back on track and see where we are.”

Mehnah features in a maximum field of 15 runners plus two reserves.

Joseph O’Brien has a trio of contenders in Neptune Rock, Sense Of Style and Thinking Of You, while father Aidan saddles recent Bellewstown scorer Friendly and Queen’s Speech.

The Ger Lyons-trained pair of Acanella and Amber Kite also feature along with Flirting Bridge from Henry de Bromhead’s yard.

Mehnah to return at Killarney

One-time Classic hope Mehnah is set to reappear in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Cairn Rouge Stakes at Killarney this week.

Trainer Kevin Prendergast has earmarked Wednesday’s Listed contest over a mile as her comeback run following a setback.

The daughter of Frankel tweaked a muscle which ruled her out of the Irish 1,000 Guineas at the Curragh and also the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot.

But the half-sister to Prendergast’s 2016 Irish 2,000 Guineas winner Awtaad has been back in work for several weeks, and is ready to return to action.

“She runs in the Listed race in Killarney on Wednesday,” said the County Kildare trainer.

“She couldn’t be better. We look forward to running her there, and hopefully she’ll put up a good show.”

Mehnah has had just the two career starts, both over seven furlongs.

She made a winning debut at Dundalk in September, and just failed to catch Keeper Of Time in the Group Three 1,000 Guineas Trial at Leopardstown in April.

Mehnah back in work after setback

Mehnah will be given plenty of time to recover from the setback which prevented her from running in the Irish 1,000 Guineas.

The Kevin Prendergast-trained filly tweaked a muscle – ruling her out of the Curragh Classic – and she has since also been taken out of the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot.

The half-sister to 2016 Irish 2000 Guineas hero Awtaad is back in work, but is not yet ready to return to action.

Prendergast said: “She’s coming on well. She tweaked a muscle before the Irish Guineas, and we just had to ease her off, but she’s back in work again.

“We’ll play it by ear. We’ll get her straight first, then we’ll make a plan.”

Mehnah has had just the two career starts, both over seven furlongs.

She made a winning debut at Dundalk in September, and just failed to catch Keeper Of Time in the Group Three 1,000 Guineas Trial at Leopardstown in April.

The daughter of Frankel holds early-closing entries in the Alwasmiyah Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh on June 27 and the Juddmonte Irish Oaks there next month.

Leading fancy Mehnah forced to miss Irish 1,000 Guineas

Mehnah has suffered a slight setback that has ruled her out of the Tattersalls Irish 1,000 Guineas at the Curragh on Sunday.

It means the Kevin Prendergast-trained filly will be denied the chance to emulate her half-brother Awtaad, who took the Irish 2,000 Guineas for the same connections in 2016.

However, Prendergast hopes Mehnah will be 100 per cent for the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Mehnah (second left) in action at Leopardstown
Mehnah (second left) in action at Leopardstown (PA)

“She’s tweaked a muscle, so we can’t run her. She’s all right and hopefully we’ll have her for the Coronation at Ascot,” said the County Kildare handler.

“It’s not serious. It’s just enough to stop her from running. In three or four days she’ll be OK, but not all right to run.”

Mehnah has had just the two career starts. She made a winning debut at Dundalk in September and just failed by a head to catch Keeper Of Time in the 1,000 Guineas Trial at Leopardstown last month. Both races were over seven furlongs.

Prendergast planning Curragh Classic mission for Mehnah

Mehnah will bid to give veteran trainer Kevin Prendergast a third win in the Tattersalls Irish 1,000 Guineas at the Curragh next month.

The 88-year-old landed his first success in the fillies’ Classic with Pidget in 1972, while Arctique Royale was his second 40 years ago.

The County Kildare handler feels he has a genuine contender in Mehnah, who is a half-sister to his 2016 Irish 2,000 Guineas victor Awtaad.

The daughter of Frankel staked her claim for Classic honours when failing by only a head to catch Keeper Of Time in the 1,000 Guineas Trial at Leopardstown earlier this month.

That was only her second start after she won a seven-furlong maiden at Dundalk in September.

“She runs next in the 1,000 Guineas at the Curragh,” said Prendergast.

“She missed the break at Leopardstown and things didn’t work out for her, and she got interference in running.

“That should put her spot on for the Guineas.

“I think she’s quite smart. She’s in very good shape, she’s come out of the race well so everything is all set.

“She’ll have no problem with the mile. I think a mile and a quarter and a mile and a half will be no problem to her.”

Monaasib putting big-race claims to the test at Leopardstown

Monaasib, who was last seen chasing home Derby favourite High Definition, is set to make his first start of the new campaign in the Ballylinch Stud “Red Rocks” 2,000 Guineas Trial at Leopardstown.

Kevin Prendergast’s colt won twice from six starts as a juvenile in 2020, before rounding off his campaign with a runner-up finish behind the Aidan O’Brien-trained High Definition in September’s Beresford Stakes at the Curragh.

On the strength of that form, Monaasib is the highest-rated of 12 runners declared for Sunday’s Listed contest – but his trainer warns he will check on ground conditions before committing to a run.

Prendergast said: “He’s in good shape and working nice, but if the ground is very, very fast he could be doubtful.

“Everyone is talking about High Definition as a champion. He came from behind and chinned us in the Beresford.

“Our horse has done well during the winter and is ready to rock and roll, but we will check on the ground.”

Monaasib’s rivals include A Case Of You, who won the Group Three Anglesey Stakes for John McConnell last autumn, and recently made a successful first start for Ado McGuinness at Dundalk.

“I’m very happy with him. I was delighted with his first run back at Dundalk,” said McGuinness.

“I suppose the question is will he stay or will he not. Hopefully he settles. I’m a little concerned about the ground, but I think we’ll have plenty of showers beforehand and Leopardstown always do a good job of the ground.

“I’m hopeful of a very big run to keep the dream alive.”

He added: “He won over seven furlongs in a maiden at Down Royal before we got him and he was a two-year-old then and he’s three now.

“He probably needs to improve another three or four pounds, but I think he will. He’s second in on the ratings behind Kevin’s horse.

“If he settles I think he’ll stay no problem. He’s not in the Irish Guineas, we hadn’t got him when the entries closed. We could have supplemented the other day, but decided we’d wait and see how he did in this. He’s in the English and German Guineas.

“If he doesn’t stay we can look at Plan B, which will probably include the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot.”

Aidan O’Brien has saddled the last four winners of the 2,000 Guineas Trial and this year fires a three-pronged assault, with Merchants Quay, Matchless and Horoscope all in contention.

Jim Bolger’s Poetic Flare, Laws Of Indices from Ken Condon’s yard and Joseph O’Brien’s pair of Snapraeterea and Magnanimous also feature.

Group Three honours are up for grabs in the following Ballylinch Stud “Priory Belle” 1,000 Guineas Trial, in which Donnacha O’Brien’s Moyglare Stud Stakes heroine Shale sets the standard.

Prendergast is looking forward to saddling Frankel filly Mehnah, who faces a significant step up in class after winning on her racecourse debut at Dundalk in September.

“We’ll find out whether she’s up to Classic standard or not – that’s the idea,” Prendergast added.

“She won a small maiden in Dundalk and seems to have wintered well and come on well.

“She’s coated out and looks well and we’re hoping for the best.”

Aidan O’Brien is again triply represented by More Beautiful, Empress Josephine and Joan Of Arc, as is son Joseph, with Sense Of Style, Messidor and My Generation declared.

Subsequent Derby heroes Galileo (2001) and High Chaparral (2002) are among Aidan O’Brien’s 10 previous winners of the P.W. McGrath Memorial Ballysax Stakes, which also features on Sunday’s card.

Bolshoi Ballet and Lough Derg are the Ballydoyle representatives this time around, while Donnacha and Joseph saddle Fernando Vichi and Isle Of Sark respectively.

Bolger’s Flying Visit and Dermot Weld’s Wuqood, who were split by just a head when first and second in the Eyrefield Stakes here in October, are also in the mix.