John Oxx expects Skitter Scatter to take a big leap forward from her belated return to action at Tipperary last month in the Group 1 Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron Stakes at Leopardstown on Saturday.
Skitter Scatter had dual 1,000 Guineas heroine Hermosa behind in third when she stormed to victory in the Moyglare Stud Stakes at the Curragh during Irish Champions Weekend last year, and Oxx thinks she is slowly returning to that sort of form having pulled her hamstring in the Qipco 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket in May.
"It is all down to myself and [Laurens' trainer] Mr Burke now," laughed Oxx after seeing he was the only Irish trainer without the surname O'Brien to have a representative.
"We were very pleased with Skitter Scatter at Tipperary and we weren't surprised she didn't win. She travelled well and looked like the winner but just blew up. She was beaten by a filly who is now rated 100 so she'll have to produce a stone better performance to return to her rating of last year which is a fair ask in just 16 days.
"We think she should step forward nicely from Tipperary and we have been very happy with her at home since."
Aidan O'Brien is responsible for six of the ten entries and reports Hermosa to be on course for Saturday's showdown over a mile. He could also run Just Wonderful, I Can Fly, Coral Beach, Goddess and Happen.
His son, Joseph, is represented by Red Tea and Pretty Polly winner Iridessa.
Hermosa, photo Liesl King
"Hermosa came out of her last run at Goodwood in good form. It’s an unbelievable two days’ racing, we’re very lucky to have it, and we want to run as many as we can," said Aidan O'Brien.
Laurens has been cut to 13-8 by Betfair, with Hermosa available at 9-4. Skitter Scatter is currently available at 14-1 with the same firm.
Skitter Scatter will not be Oxx's only runner this weekend as he hopes to unleash Lady Jane Wilde in the Listed Ballylinch Stud Irish EBF Ingabelle Stakes at Leopardstown.
The daughter of Dragon Pulse swooped late to land a Curragh maiden for Aidan Howard and was subsequently snapped up by Barbara Keller and moved to Oxx.
The trainer added: "She's a lovely filly and a very nice addition to the yard. She won impressively on soft ground at the Curragh and I'd say she definitely has a preference for soft.
"I'd be a bit concerned about quick ground for her, but we'd love to run her and would be temped to run on good ground. She's been doing everything right since she came to us."
The Matron Stakes – Betfair: 13-8 Laurens, 9-4 Hermosa, 6-1 I Can Fly, 8-1 Goddess, 10-1 Iridessa, 14-1 Skitter Scatter, 16-1 Red Tea, 20-1 Happen, 25-1 Just Wonderful, 66-1 Coral Beach.