Only five go to post for the 2017 renewal of the Gladness Stakes, but this is still a high class affair and an intriguing contest at Naas on Sunday, see our betting tips and the full race preview below.
IN SUMMARY: Alice Springs is likely to be popular as a high-class Group 1 winner at her best but there has to be a question mark about the softer ground and this can go to DIAMOND FIELDS. She looks set for a fruitful season after a good campaign last year, running very well in a soft ground handicap at Royal Ascot in June. She was far from disgraced in three runs in America when last seen in September and can improve sufficiently to throw down a very stern challenge under Chris Hayes for the in form Stack yard.
1 GORDON LORD BYRON – Nine year old who has certainly paid his way in a seventy race career, amassing one million in prize money and fifteen wins for the Hogan yard. A group 1 winner in his prime, including a comfortable win in the Betfred Sprint Cup at Haydock back in 2013, he wasn’t at his best last season when unable to land a blow in the majority of his races. He does have a fitness edge after finishing second in a Dundalk handicap two weeks ago but he is giving weight all around and this looks a very tricky task with all things considered. Others make far more appeal.
2 ALICE SPRINGS – High class Group 1 winning filly who won both the Matron Stakes at Leopardstown and the Chariot Stakes at Newmarket in a very productive summer for Aiden O’Brien. Clearly the class of the field and has the services of Ryan Moore, but despite how far ahead she is on ratings, the ground certainly looks soft enough for her on seasonal reappearance. She could be vulnerable in that regard and she is certainly one to take on with all things considered at the prices.
3 BLUE DE VEGA – Four year old colt who remains with lots of potential after two good campaigns, winning the Group 3 Killavullan Stakes at Leopardstown in October 2015. She ran well last season, finishing third in the Irish 2000 Guienas behind Awtaad and Galileo Gold, albeit well beaten on that occasion. Ground is certainly in his favour and Pat Smullen is a good jockey booking, so he certainly isn’t a forlorn hope in this if fully revved up for this. Likely to be run well and is respected.
4 SMASH WILLIAMS – Smart two year old who won a Group 3 at the Curragh on only his second start under rules, but certainly wasn’t at his best on his only run last season when well beaten at Naas in May 2016 behind Only Mine and Washington DC. Conditions are to suit and the Bolger yard are in stellar form at present, but he is a huge risk with such little running and perhaps he is best watched on this occasion.
5 DIAMOND FIELDS – Four year old filly who will love these conditions on offer today, finishing second in a highly competitive Royal Ascot handicap back in June 2016 when posting a career best effort. She looks set for a good season and improvement is likely to be forthcoming on seasonal reappearance after two good efforts out in the USA in the late summer for a yard who are in very good form at present. Chris Hayes takes the ride and all signs point to a very big run.