A return of seven victories in 22 years for master trainer Aidan O’Brien in the Irish 1,000 Guineas is no mean feat and he once again looks set to dominate the fillies’ classic at the Curragh on Sunday.
The Ballydoyle maestro has no less than four of the 10 entries here and the first, third, fifth, sixth and eighth all re-oppose after running in the Newmarket equivalent, but this time around on ground deemed to be a lot quicker by the Curragh executives and therein lies the key to this contest.
Wayne Lordan gave Hermosa one hell of a ride at ‘Headquarters’ but in essence was allowed to do so by almost riding a waiting race out in front before quickening up coming into the dip. That I am afraid is a huge blot on the decision making of the 14 jockeys in the field that day and just shouldn’t happen in a race of that standing.
I fancy the re-opposing riders will not make the same mistake again here and I shall be surprised if this athletic looking daughter of the great Galileo manages to complete the double.
You don’t have to be an oracle to point out that Just Wonderful was the big eye-catcher that day being poorly placed at halfway and only really grabbing the ground as they hit the rising ground to finish in sixth place beaten barely two lengths.
However, I thought that run had less to do with jockeyship and more to do with her lack of tactical racing pace in the first half of that contest.
She looks the perfect filly for races over a mile and a quarter plus and I am surprised that Aidan hasn’t gone straight to Epsom for the Oaks with her.
I am really keen on the claims of the fifth home that day, FAIRYLAND, set to be partnered by the ever-reliable Seamie Heffernan. I thought she looked the pick of the paddock that afternoon at Newmarket and Frankie Dettori had her in the perfect spot as the pace quickened up a quarter of a mile from home.
I don’t think that she handled the dip particularly well that day though and this more straightforward track should suit her needs better. She also looked to be blowing a wee bit harder than her stable companions after the race and I fancy she will step forward from that run significantly here. But most important of all, this faster surface looks crucial to this lovely moving filly whereas it may well hinder a few of her rivals.
Of the British raiders, third-placed Qabala will have her supporters as she too became unbalanced going into and then out of the dip and didn’t have the clearest of runs. Roger Varian reports that she has taken the race really well and she deserves the utmost respect.
MAGICAL will obviously take the world of beating in the Tattersalls Gold Cup at 3.50 before running in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot, but the best value bet on the card could come in the form of top weight BONGIORNO in the two mile handicap due off at 5.30.
This lightly raced four-year-old filly needed her first start of the season and left that run well behind when a staying on third in a Listed race at Gowran Park. I think she has been crying out for this her first run over two miles and I have already invested on this daughter of High Chaparral, a huge stamina influence.
ARIZONA should put his relative experience to good use in the opening maiden for the O’Brien/Moore axis at 1.50, while I am convinced that KAFU is better than he has shown so far this campaign and is worth a second glance from the foot of the handicap in the 5f event at 2.50.