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BIG RACE PREVIEW: The feature race at Leopardstown this evening is the Group 3 Desmond Stakes with the field headed by Create Belief.

A competitive and interesting renewal of the Desmond Stakes sees the return of the potentially exciting Create Belief. She was just about the most impressive winner of the week at Royal Ascot when she took apart the field in the Sandringham Stakes. There is little doubt that the attritional conditions helped the daughter of Awtaad as she clearly has a preference for softer ground however she was the classic potential group horse in a handicap. She had served notice of her potential the time before when she won the Premier Fillies Handicap on Irish 2000 Guineas Day. She posted a speed figure (73) that was within two points of the Irish 2000 Guineas winner over the same course and distance on the same day. In effect, her time suggested that she could have been competitive at the classic level and this was reinforced the following day as the Irish 1000 Guineas winner Empress Josephine returned a comparative speed figure of 61. She is surely ready for this step up to Group 3 level.

However she has to prove that she can transfer that level of form to this higher grade and that often proves a difficult task. In the form of Military Style, she faces an opponent who embodies that task. He is already a winner at this level in his two-year-old days when on his penultimate start he took the Group 3 Tyros Stakes by a neck from a future Group 1 winner in his stablemate Van Gogh. He then blew out on his final start at two when 9th of 10 in the Group 1 National Stakes last September. Off the track for 333 days since and making his three-year-old debut here, he is a fascinating contender.

Of the rest, Erzindjan brings a solid if vulnerable profile to the race and he runs here just fives days after finishing third in a Cork listed race over 7 furlongs. Real Appeal is a progressive four year old who won the Group 3 Ballycorus Stakes here at Leopardstown again over 7 furlongs in June and he could easily be in the shake-up whilst the bottom horse Neptune Rock has plenty to find on the figures, but she is trained by a man who is a master at placing his horses to best effect.

And so the race essentially boils down to Create Belief. On official figures she has 7lb in hand on the whole field and the closest horse to her based on these figures hasn’t seen a racecourse for the best part of a year. No Group 3 race is easy however she enters into this grade with a strong chance and any rain that may fall between now and the race will only increase her chance of making her first step into Group company a winning one.