Monaasib, who was last seen chasing the Derby’s favorite high definition, is set to make his first start of the new campaign in the Ballylinch Stud “Red Rocks” 2000 Guineas Trial at Leopardstown.
Kevin Prendergast’s colt won twice out of six starts as a juvenile in 2020, before ending his campaign with a second place behind the High Definition formed by Aidan O’Brien in the September Beresford Stakes at the Curragh.
Based on that form, Monaasib is the highest rated of the 12 riders declared for Sunday’s Listed competition – but his trainer warns he will check the ground conditions before embarking on a race.
Prendergast said: “He’s in good shape and is working well, but if the pitch is very, very fast it could be questionable.
“Everyone talks about High Definition as a champion. He came from behind and led us into the Beresford.
“Our horse has done well through the winter and is ready to rock and roll, but we’ll check out the field.”
Monaasib’s rivals include A Case Of You, which won Group Three Anglesey Stakes for John McConnell last fall, and recently had a successful first start for Ado McGuinness at Dundalk.
“I’m very happy with him. I was delighted with his first run at Dundalk,” said McGuinness.
“I guess the question is whether he will stay or not. I hope he settles down. I’m a little concerned about the terrain, but I think we’ll have a lot of showers ahead of time and Leopardstown will always do a good job on the ground.
“I hope that a really great race will keep the dream alive.”
He added: “He won over seven stages in a maiden at Down Royal before we got him and he was two at the time and he’s three now.
“He probably needs another three or four pounds to improve, but I think he will. He’s second behind Kevin’s horse.
“If he settles in I think there will be no problem left. He’s not in the Irish Guineas, we didn’t have him when the entrances closed. We could have completed the other day, but we decided to wait and see how he was doing. He is in the English and German Guineas.
“If he doesn’t stay, we can look at Plan B, which will likely include the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot.”
Aidan O’Brien has saddled the last four winners in the 2000 Guineas trial and this year launches a three-pronged assault, with Merchants Quay, Matchless and Horoscope all in contention.
Jim Bolger’s Poetic Flare, Ken Condon’s Laws Of Clues, and Joseph O’Brien’s pair of Snapraeterea and Magnanimous are also featured.
Group 3 honors are up for grabs in the upcoming Ballylinch Stud “Priory Belle” 1000 Guineas Trial, in which Shale, Donnacha O’Brien’s Moyglare Stud Stakes heroine, sets the standard.
Prendergast is looking forward to saddling filly Frankel Mehnah, who is facing a significant breakthrough in the class after winning her racetrack debut at Dundalk in September.
“We’ll find out whether it lives up to conventional standards or not – that’s the idea,” added Prendergast.
“She won a little damsel at Dundalk and seems to have wintered well and going well.
“She’s coated and looks good and we hope for the best.”
Aidan O’Brien is again triply represented by More Beautiful, Empress Josephine and Joan of Arc, as is his son Joseph, with Sense Of Style, Messidor and My Generation said.
The following Derby Heroes Galileo (2001) and High Chaparral (2002) are among Aidan O’Brien’s previous 10 winners of the PW McGrath Memorial Ballysax Stakes, which are also on Sunday’s card.
The Bolshoi Ballet and Lough Derg are Ballydoyle’s representatives this time around, while Donnacha and Joseph are playing Fernando Vichi and Isle Of Sark respectively.
Also part of the mix are Bolger and Wuqood’s flying visit from Dermot Weld, who were separated by a header when they were first and second in the Eyrefield Stakes here in October.