sport

Rain dance from Penitent team

Connections of Penitent are hoping the heavens open at Leopardstown ahead of his appearance in Sunday's Ardglen Amethyst Stakes.

The eight-year-old has been a superb servant to owners Middleham Park Racing and trainer David O'Meara over the past couple of seasons, winning multiple races at Listed and Group level, but there is little doubt he excels when the mud is flying.

Having failed to make an impact in the Godolphin Mile at Meydan earlier in the year, Penitent made a pleasing return to British action when third behind Tullius and Montiridge in last month's bet365 Mile at Sandown.

Middleham Park bloodstock manager Nick Bradley said: "We're hoping the rain comes and if it does I think he should be there or thereabouts.

"He's in good form and I think his Sandown run showed he was as good as ever. He just got beat by two very good horses that day.

"Looking at the race on Sunday I think there are a few horses in there who would prefer better ground, so if it comes up soft the lesser chance they would have and the better chance we'd have."

Penitent features in an 11-strong field, with trainer John Oxx keen to find out more about course and distance winner Qewy.

The son of Street Cry won the Listed Heritage Stakes at the track a month ago, but conditions are unlikely to be as demanding in this weekend's Group Three heat.

Oxx said: "We're on a fact-finding mission, as much as anything.

"He's won on heavy ground and we know he acts on that, so he'd be suited by any rain they get at Leopardstown.

"Having said that, we're anxious to run him on faster ground to see how he handles it.

"We're also looking at possibly stepping him up to a mile and a quarter at some stage, so we'll see how he goes on Sunday and it will tell us a bit more.

"It looks a tough race, but hopefully he'll run well."

Eddie Lynam's talented filly Pearl Of Africa makes her first appearance since finishing an excellent third in the Group Two Balanchine at Meydan in February.

Brendan Bracken, Dandy Boy and Dermot Weld's three-year-old Mustajeeb also take part in an intriguing contest.