Irish 1000 Guineas preview: Albigna is very, very good says big race ace Shane Foley

She's quirky but can get the job done in Saturday’s Classic says jockey Shane Foley.



We were lucky enough to have star jockey Shane Foley on Paddy Power Media’s new podcast, From The Horse’s Mouth this week ahead of the Irish 1000 Guineas at the Curragh on Saturday (7.15pm).

Shane rides the hugely fancied Albigna in the Irish Classic and looks ahead to Saturday’s race and life in the saddle generally during lockdown and since racing resumed.

Albigna is just so good

ALBIGNA is in great shape and I’m looking forward to riding her on Saturday. She’s a very, very good filly, albeit she is a bit quirky and she has her own thoughts sometimes, but when she does put it together she’s very, very good.

She was sixth to eventual English 1,000 Guineas winner Love in the Moyglare Stud Stakes last September, but she was in season that day and she got very warm, so she wasn’t easy to ride.

She was good at Longchamp but at Santa Anita in the Breeders Cup she was a bit awkward early and got herself back to finish fourth in the end. The track probably didn’t suit her there, but that’s just her way and it’s the same at home. She does her work, but if you change her routine she can get a bit nasty.

The good ones always have a quirk and she definitely does.

But the fact is she’s very, very good.



Millisle’s English 1000 Guineas performance

Millisle ran disappointingly at Newmarket last weekend. She’s a lot better than that. At the time it was frustrating, but these things happen and it was out of anyone’s hands.

I hope she can show herself in better light in the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot next week – if she goes there.

Strike rate

I’ve had nine winners up to Friday, since the resumption. Jessica Harrington’s stable has had a good start in Ireland. The horses are healthy and well, and it makes my job an awful lot easier. With the weekend that’s coming up, it’s nice to be in a rich vein of form.

Shane Foley

Keeping busy through lockdown

Obviously, we weren’t galloping the horses much. But they were kept ticking over and we kept riding out to keep the eye in. I was doing riding work for Ger O’Leary and Ken Condon, and whoever really needed me.

My wife has a riding school that was closed up, but there was plenty of home jobs getting done that I had been putting off for a while. I was glad to get back racing on Monday!

The importance of riding winners

Oh it’s massive, just massive. Obviously, you’re going out on everything thinking you can nearly win on it.

Especially going into those big races, you can’t beat a jockey with confidence.

Jessie (Harrington) is very good to ride for and she leaves it up to you. So, when the horses are in that kind of form it makes your job an awful lot easier.

Things can happen that if you were not having a good run you could get knocked down. Whereas when things are going right, everything seems to fall your way and I hope that happens Saturday.


Riding behind closed doors

It’s not ideal, but as far as the Irish racing goes – bar its really big days like the Galway Festival, or the Guineas days – there wouldn’t be thousands at the races anyway. Now I know it takes away the atmosphere, there’s not much atmosphere there at all, but it’s nice to start and I do get a kick out of it.

You can’t beat a winner no matter where it is now, Tramore, the Curragh or anywhere. You still get that winning feeling, the yard has that winning feeling, the owners – everyone’s still involved.

I know it’s a bit surreal that there’s no-one there, but you’re still a winner at the end of the day.

Measures at the racecourse

Everybody knows what they have to do, everybody has a role to play and in fairness to the tracks, they have everything laid out really good for us.

The first day was a bit different for us and it’s just about getting into the routine.

It’s for the safety of everyone and everybody has complied. The facemasks are probably the hardest for us when we’re riding a bit going to the start, but we don’t have to wear them during the race.

But that’s the only really difficult thing about it and it’s something that’s not major, you can get used to it.


Promising two-year-olds to watch

Oodnadatta is nice. We also have a big Karakontie colt – Los Andes he’s called. He’s owned by the Niarchos family and we like him. One or two two-year-olds disappointed on Wednesday at Navan, but that can happen with two-year-olds first time out. They get a bit of stage fright.

We have a lovely team of horses and some good older ones as well for the rest of the season.

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