Homecoming Queen, who sprung a surprise in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket, heads 14 entries remaining in the Etihad Airways Irish 1000 Guineas at the Curragh this afternoon
The potential field is dominated by Aidan O’Brien, who will be attempting to land the race for the sixth time following Misty For Me’s victory 12 months ago. He currently has half the entries.
As well as wide-margin Newmarket winner Homecoming Queen he has Maybe, who lost her unbeaten record when third in the Classic as a hot favourite, along with After, Devotion, Ishvana, Soon and Wonderful.
Sole British entry is Mick Channon’s Samitar, who was well beaten in the French Guineas.
More obvious contenders look to be Kevin Prendergast’s Newmarket fifth La Collina and Yellow Rosebud, who was produced by Dermot Weld to win the recent trial at Leopardstown. Weld is a four-time winner of the Irish Guineas.
Caprella, the Jim Bolger pair of Cleofila and Janey Muddles, plus Jessica Harrington’s Princess Sinead are the others in the mix.
Lightening Pearl was ruled out of the Classic by Ger Lyons, whose filly won the Group One Cheveley Park Stakes last term but could finish only 13th behind Homecoming Queen in the Newmarket Guineas on her seasonal return.
He is planning to drop her back in trip for the tyregiant.com Summer Stakes at York next month.
He tweeted: “Morning, it has been decided not to run LP in IRE 1000gns. We will wait till July at York to race her again & will drop her back in trip.”
Think booked for Curragh Gold
Aidan O’Brien is responsible for six of the nine entries for the Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh today headed by So You Think.
It seems likely the former Australian superstar will attempt to lift the 10-furlong Group One for the second year in a row, but O’Brien has also left in possible Coronation Cup runner St Nicholas Abbey and last year’s Hardwicke Stakes winner Await The Dawn as well as Treasure Beach, Robin Hood and Windsor Palace.
So You Think went on to win the Eclipse and Irish Champion Stakes in a very busy season and opened his 2012 campaign with a respectable fourth in the Dubai World Cup.
The other three in the field are Dermot Weld’s Famous Name, a prolific scorer in Listed and Group Three company who is still waiting for an elusive Group One win, Jessica Harrington’s useful filly Bible Belt, and Harry Rogers’ outsider Elusive Ridge.
O’Brien delighted with Camelot
Aidan O’Brien is delighted with 2000 Guineas hero Camelot ahead of next weekend’s Investec Derby.
Speaking on the telephone at Epsom’s Breakfast With The Stars event on Thursday morning, the Ballydoyle trainer stated that although he currently has a total of five entries in the Classic, only the hot favourite is a confirmed Derby runner at this stage.
O’Brien said of Camelot: “He has been good (since winning the Qipco 2000 Guineas) - everything is fine. He has been going gently and everything is well so far. I am happy with him.
“He has always been a very special horse here, from day one. He was a very short-priced favourite when he went for his maiden and then I was very happy with him in the Racing Post Trophy. His first big test was the Guineas. He is one of those very special horses. He is very relaxed, very straightforward and very calm but has a lot of nervous energy.”
Referring to his other entries, Astrology, Imperial Monarch, Father Of Science and Tower Rock, O’Brien added: “All the others are on Derby work regimes and everything has gone well so far. They will go through all the tests next week and we will decide what to do.”
Turning to the same afternoon’s Diamond Jubilee Coronation Cup, O’Brien said: “Hopefully, Joseph (O’Brien) will ride St Nicholas Abbey. That is the plan anyway. He is definitely the main runner we will have there.”
Jimmy Fortune remains keen to play down any fears over the temperament of his Derby mount Bonfire. Andrew Balding’s colt entered serious discussions for the premier Classic after his defeat of Ektihaam in last week’s Dante Stakes at York, a race which is invariably a pertinent Derby trial.
There have been stories of Bonfire being difficult on the gallops and on the racecourse, and Balding is likely to ask permission to let his regular companion Ispahan go down to the start with him on Derby Day.
Asked whether the horse would withstand the busy and noisy occasion, the jockey said: “Of course he will. People have gone on about this horse’s temperament. He is a Jack the lad - he likes to do things his own way - but no way does he worry or get upset. He is very genuine and he is actually a very easy ride when he is going.
“I have not ridden him since York and I very rarely ride him at home - I think I have only ridden work on him three times. Leanne Masterson rides him at home. I think Bonfire will stay but he is not guaranteed to stay - we won’t know until the day. I really like the horse of Aidan O’Brien’s (Imperial Monarch) who won the Sandown Trial. He impressed me that day and I’d say he would be as big a danger as the favourite (Camelot).”
Princess Royal run excites Smullen
Princess Highway remains on course to try to emulate her dam by winning the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot.
The Street Cry filly is out of Irresistible Jewel, who landed the Ascot Group Two in 2002 for trainer Dermot Weld.
Weld has already enjoyed success with Princess Highway’s half-sister Mad About You, who was a Group Three winner and placed four times at the highest level, and the youngest sibling looks like upholding the family tradition.
Princess Highway won the Blue Wind Stakes last time and jockey Pat Smullen is expecting even more in the future.
He told At The Races: “I think when she gets her ground she will improve for that again.
“She won very well in Naas, doing it the hard way by picking them off a furlong in. I think she’s going there (Royal Ascot). The boss’ plan is to go there. I think there’s big things ahead for her hopefully.”
Charlie Hills will also aim Hazel Lavery towards the Ribblesdale, rather than ask her to tackle next Friday’s Investec Oaks.
Second in last year’s Tattersalls Millions 2YO Fillies’ Trophy, the daughter of Excellent Art finished in the same position behind Kailani on her comeback in the Pretty Polly Stakes on Guineas weekend at Newmarket.
“She’s not going to run in the Oaks, and at this stage we’ll look at the Ribblesdale at Ascot,” said Hills.
No Irish Champion bid for Frankel
Sir Henry Cecil feels the Red Mills Irish Champion Stakes does not fit into Frankel’s schedule after taking the superstar colt out of the Leopardstown Group One.
The four-year-old son of Galileo stretched his unbeaten record to 10 races with a devastating performance in the JLT Lockinge Stakes at Newbury on Saturday.
Frankel will not, however, take up an assignment in Ireland on September 8, for which stablemate Twice Over is still one of 50 entries.
Cecil told the Guardian: “It’s a great race and everything, but it’s not in his programme.
“If, say, he’s going to go for the Sussex Stakes (Goodwood, August 1) and then the Juddmonte (York, August 22), then he can’t run in that, too.
“We can’t enter him in everything.”