Having seen home trained fillies win the last six renewals of the Irish 1,000 Guineas, the only certainty this weekend is that it will be seven on the trot just after 19:15 on Saturday.
Jessica Harrington will have a huge handle on what happens in this second Classic of the season with two chances.
Meanwhile despite lacking in numbers this time around, Aidan O’Brien goes into the race having enjoyed a brilliant run of things over the past week alone.
Here are the horses which are currently dominating the market.
Despite getting beaten in two of the three Group 1 races she contested as a juvenile, Albigna is remembered most for her remarkable fourth-placed effort in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.
That came after her Prix Marcel Boussac win at Longchamp, but she was a well-beaten sixth in the Moyglare Stud Stakes – won by Love. Jessica Harrington will know what kind of ammo she’s got this year and it’s a huge plus that her stable has started so well.
Throw in the fact that Shane Foley has described his Classic mount as ‘the best horse I’ve ever ridden’ and that makes her the one to beat.
Many were surprised that Peaceful didn’t take her chance in Newmarket last Sunday but given the high-class performance Love displayed, we now know why she didn’t turn up.
Not many Thurles maiden winners have gone on to Classic glory and Peaceful’s overall juvenile form wouldn’t be up to scratch of winning an Irish 1,000 Guineas.
In fact, she was beaten by Ridenza on her very first start. Saying that, she does appear to be the main Ballydoyle hope and Aidan O’Brien has won the race eight times in total, including two of the last three renewals.
Formerly trained at Ballydoyle, this unbeaten filly will spearhead Donnacha O’Brien’s team in his first season at his new profession.
This daughter of Deep Impact defied a market drift to win on both occasions last year and in those two victories, she led close home suggesting that she’ll be at her optimum beyond one mile.
However, while she may be more suited by the test of an Irish Oaks, she’s likely to be ready for the stiff test that this Classic will bring
A maiden after eight starts, but don’t let that put you off as she was placed in three Group contests last season- most notably when an unlucky in-running third behind Love in the Moyglare Stud Stakes.
That battle-hardened campaign last year is sure to stand to her and given that her best three runs have all come at the Curragh, she’s one for the shortlist. In fact, she may be the best of the Ballydoyle brigade.
Despite having tasted Group 1 glory and trained over 1,000 winners in Ireland, Michael Halford has yet to win a Classic. However, in the unbeaten Ridenza, he’ll be hoping that might change on Saturday evening.
This daughter of Sea The Stars was heavily backed before winning her maiden at Leopardstown in August, a race which has been franked on a number of occasions. For example, the fourth-placed Lemista went on to land the Group 3 Park Express Stakes three starts later, while two more winners have also come out of that race, including Peaceful.
Inexperience may count against her but from what we’ve seen so far, she’s clearly a filly who could be potentially top class.
It may be surprising to hear that there are no less than four maidens in the line-up and they include the Ger Lyons pair of ROCA ROMA and SOUL SEARCH whose runs in the Debutante Stakes and the Moyglare Stud Stakes gives her a fighting chance.
Yet, Colin Keane has gone for the former and that suggests she’s working the best of the Lyons runners, which also includes EVEN SO an impressive winner of a Gowran maiden.
The form of NEW YORK GIRL ties in closely with Fancy Blue through A New Dawn, so she could be overpriced on that basis, while VALERIA MESSALINA has done very little wrong in her two starts to date and shouldn’t be discounted given the form of Jessica Harrington over the last six days alone.
It’s safe to say that ALBIGNA’s runs in Longchamp and Santa Anita are the best pieces of form by quite some way here. And the fact that she’s the only filly which has shown anything close to Group 1 winning form makes her near impossible to oppose.
So Wonderful has two solid runs behind Love last year, so she looks best of the Ballydoyle pair. Meanwhile Soul Search, who was a close fourth to Love in the Moyglare, looks the best value in the field.
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