Visualisation lands Listed prize at Listowel

Visualisation led his rivals a merry dance in the Edmund & Josie Whelan Memorial Listowel Stakes.

Winner of the valuable “Habitat” Handicap at the Curragh earlier in the summer before claiming a second place at Royal Ascot, Joseph O’Brien’s charge was last seen finishing down the field in the Group Three Royal Whip Stakes.

Dropping down to Listed class in the feature event on day three of the Harvest Festival, Visualisation was a well supported 7-2 chance and ultimately won with plenty in hand.

Drawn widest of all in stall 11, the three-year-old was rousted away from the stalls by Declan McDonogh, enabling him to move across the field and grab the lead.

The chasing pack attempted to close the gap from the home turn, but Visualisation never looked in any real danger of being caught and passed the post with two and a half lengths in hand over Geometrical, with Casanova close up in third.

O’Brien’s assistant, Brendan Powell, said: “Declan was brilliant on him. He got him out from the gates and to the front and he has dictated lovely the whole way. He has given him a breather on the bend and then kicked.

“I think he is improving all the time and obviously the softer the ground, the better. He stays well, is very genuine and has won that well in the end.

“That’s his best win and the best he has been. Where Joseph will go now I don’t know, but he’ll stay further.”

It proved to be a profitable afternoon for favourite backers, with the market leaders of the first four races all striking gold.

Aidan O’Brien and Seamie Heffernan teamed up to land the opening Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden with even-money shot Aikhal, before Jarlath Fahey’s Pimstrel (7-2) strode clear of her rivals under Leigh Roche in division one of the Rose Hotel Handicap.

Division two went the way of Eoin McCarthy’s Drombeg Duke (100-30), ridden by Gavin Ryan, while Dermot Weld’s Mutasarref looks ready for a step up in grade judged on his ready success in the Jet & Peggy O’Carroll Memorial (C & G) Maiden in the hands of Colin Keane.

Kris Weld, assistant to his father, said: “After his last run he looked like he should go and win today and thankfully he has. Hopefully we will go and look for a handicap for him next.

“His dam (Mulkeyya) loved an ease in the ground and we anticipated he would handle it well.”

Jessica Harrington and Shane Foley continued their hot streak by landing the last two races of the day, with Tut Tut (5-2) getting back on the winning trail in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Premier Nursery and Laelaps obliging in the Listowel Arms Hotel Handicap at 15-2.

Point Lonsdale posts emphatic victory in Futurity Stakes

Aidan O’Brien’s leading juvenile Point Lonsdale continued his seamless career progression so far as he remained unbeaten with a dominant display in the Group Two Galileo Irish EBF Futurity Stakes at the Curragh.

Point Lonsdale, previously successful in his maiden over this course and distance, the Listed Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot and then a Leopardstown Group three last month, was a 1-6 favourite to take another rise in class in his stride.

The Australia colt duly did so, assuming control from an early stage under Ryan Moore and easily maintaining and ultimately stretching his advantage to win by more than four lengths from Maritime Wings.

Point Lonsdale took care of the same opponent on his previous appearance, and his Chesham form had been substantiated earlier in the day when runner-up Reach For The Moon was a decisive Group Three winner at Sandown.

Bookmakers responded to his latest demonstration of superiority by shortening him half a point into 3-1 for the Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket, while he also retains his grip at the head of the market for both the 2000 Guineas and Derby.

O’Brien quickly confirmed, however, that Point Lonsdale’s next assignment will be a third appearance over this same course and distance – in next month’s Group One Vincent O’Brien National Stakes

The Ballydoyle trainer said: “We’re delighted with him. He’s a lovely, straightforward horse.

“He relaxes, he quickens – and his head goes down to the ground when you ask him. He’s happy to go in front, but if someone wants to lead him, great. When you want him he quickens. He’s a classy horse.

“He wouldn’t like that (yielding) ground – he wants good or better to be ideal, because he’s a lovely mover.

“He’ll come back here for the National Stakes – that’s the plan.”

Agartha was an all-the-way winner of the preceding Group Two on the card, for the two-year-old fillies in the Alpha Centauri Debutante Stakes.

Declan McDonogh bounced Joseph O’Brien’s Agartha out in front – and as the race developed, she always had matters under control to win by two lengths as the 4-1 co-favourite of four.

The daughter of Caravaggio, racing for the sixth time in a busy campaign, was unable to win a maiden in four attempts but sprang a surprise in a Leopardstown Group Three last month – and confirmed her improvement over the same trip here.

Sunset Shiraz, the only maiden in the eight-strong field, stayed on from off the pace to get closest to the winner – but Agartha was in no danger from the 25-1 outsider.

O’Brien’s assistant Brendan Powell said: “She’s unreal, she’s tough – and Declan said she seems to go on any ground.

“Last time out he made plenty of use of her, and he’s done the same today. You could see them trying to come at her one by one.

“Shane (Crosse) was on the other one (fourth-placed stablemate Seisai) and said they went a proper gallop.

“She seems to stay well – she gallops well and puts her head down. Most of all. she’s an absolute trier.

“I know most were over shorter trips, but it makes you wonder how she didn’t win her maiden. You don’t mind that, with what she’s done now!”

Dual champion jockey Colin Keane had a treble in the bag after the opening three races – all juvenile maidens.

Both Eclat De Lumiere and Straight Answer were successful on their respective racecourse debuts, and then Duke De Sessa was an emphatic winning favourite on his second career start.

Dermot Weld’s well-bred filly Eclat De Lumiere struck late down the middle of the track in the Stallion Farms EBF Maiden, for a half-length success from favourite Benitoite at 7-2 – in the colours of Moyglare Stud.

Juddmonte’s Kodiac colt Straight Answer, trained by Ger Lyons, took control of the DMG Media Irish EBF Maiden mid-race on the way to a length-and-a-quarter victory as 15-8 favourite from Rhea Moon.

Then Keane completed his treble, and a double for Weld, when 6-4 shot Duke De Sessa proved far too good for the opposition in the Coolmore Arizona Irish EBF Maiden – winning by almost five lengths.

Weld confirmed his high opinion of the winner, and Classic aspirations next year.

He said: “He’s a lovely colt.

“He was probably unlucky not to win in Galway but he’s progressed from that and learned from that day. You could call him a winner a long way down there.

“He’ll have one more run this year in a Group race. I’ll speak with (owner) Maurice Regan and see which one we’ll pick.

“He’s a very smart colt and a lovely horse to look forward to – a potential Guineas horse for next year.”

Thundering Nights primed for Deauville date

Joseph O’Brien reports his Pretty Polly Stakes heroine Thundering Nights in fine form as she seeks to double her Group One tally in the Darley Prix Jean Romanet at Deauville.

Thundering Nights has had a break since getting the better of subsequent dual Grade One winner Santa Barbara at the Curragh in late June.

But the four-year-old is set to return to action in France on Sunday.

James Fanshawe’s Audarya may defend her Prix Jean Romanet title – while her Goodwood conqueror Lady Bowthorpe, for William Jarvis, and Kildare trainer Willie McCreery’s Insinuendo are others in the reckoning this weekend.

O’Brien told Sky Sports Racing: “I’m looking forward to running her.

“She’s come out of her last run at the Curragh well, and she’s done really well so far this season.”

The trans-Atlantic success of Santa Barbara – in the Belmont Oaks and Beverly D. Stakes, since her neck defeat to Thundering Nights – raises O’Brien’s hopes.

He added: “Obviously Santa Barbara has really boosted the form since the last run. She’s franked that form really well.

“It looks a very hot race, but we’re looking forward to the weekend with her.”

The Darley Prix Morny is the Group One prize on offer to the two-year-olds on Sunday’s classy card – and among the 17 still in contention is O’Brien’s unbeaten Velocidad, with Gavin Cromwell’s Royal Ascot winner Quick Suzy and Alan King’s Asymmetric also part of a potentially strong British and Irish challenge.

The Shunter leads McManus’ Plate party

Ante-post favourite The Shunter heads a formidable team for leading owner JP McManus in the €250,000 Tote Galway Plate.

The eight-year-old enjoyed an excellent campaign for trainer Emmet Mullins last term, winning the Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham and the Morebattle Hurdle at Kelso before successfully reverting to fences in the Paddy Power Plate at the Cheltenham Festival in March.

He was snapped up by McManus before finishing second in a Grade One novice chase at the Grand National meeting at Aintree, and rounded off his campaign with a third-placed finish back over the smaller obstacles at Punchestown.

The Shunter is just one of seven McManus-owned runners declared, three trained by Joseph O’Brien.

McManus and O’Brien teamed up to win the 2020 Galway Plate with Early Doors and this year join forces with Top Moon, Darasso and potentially A Wave Of The Sea – who is first reserve.

O’Brien told Betfair: “Top Moon has been knocking on the door in valuable handicap chases, and it was great to see him get off the mark over fences at Wexford last time. I think this trip will suit him well, and he looks to have a fair chance if getting a bit of luck on the day.

“Darasso has come back to form in the last couple of months, winning two of his last three starts. This is a much more competitive race, and he has plenty of weight, but he has earned it. Hopefully he’ll acquit himself well.

“A Wave Of The Sea is the first reserve. He has his stamina to prove for this longer trip, but he gives the impression that he’ll stay it. He wouldn’t be one to rule out if he gets a run.”

O’Brien also saddles Assemble and Home By The Lee, adding: “Assemble was running a solid race at Killarney when falling at the second-last fence last time. His run in the Paddy Power Plate at the Cheltenham Festival showed he can be competitive in races like this, and hopefully he’ll run well.

“Home By The Lee was impressive when winning a valuable novices’ handicap chase at Naas in February and ran ok in the Irish Grand National. Getting back to this sort of trip might well suit him, and if he gets into a good rhythm with his jumping he might well outrun his big price.”

Willie Mullins has trained just one previous winner of the Galway Plate, with Blazing Tempo striking gold a decade ago.

The Closutton handler appears intent on adding to his tally, with last year’s runner-up Royal Rendezvous joined by six stablemates in Easy Game, Brahma Bull, Annamix Livelovelaugh and Koshari.

“Royal Rendezvous had a nice prep for this when winning a hurdle at Ballinrobe last time,” the champion trainer said on his website

“He was unlucky in this race last year and, with a little improvement, should go close again.

“Patrick (Mullins) has elected to ride Annamix, who jumps well enough and has been working well. He will like this nice ground and has a good chance.

“Easy Game has a lot of weight and faces a tough assignment. Brahma Bull won over three miles last time and might just find this trip a little short. With his rider’s (Jack Foley) 7lb claim, he has an each-way chance.

“Livelovelaugh will be suited by this trip, but might find things happening a bit fast around this tight track.

“Koshari has a lovely racing weight and could be well handicapped. He improved hugely to win over hurdles at the Punchestown Festival and has a decent chance if he keeps his jumping together.”

Agartha too strong for Silver Flash field

Agartha made all the running to spring a 16-1 surprise in the Frank Conroy Silver Flash Stakes at Leopardstown.

Placed in all her four previous starts, the Joseph O’Brien-trained filly got off the mark in game fashion under an enterprising ride by Declan McDonogh.

He had Agartha smartly out of the stalls to grab the lead from the outset and dictate proceedings in this Group Three contest over seven furlongs.

Seasai and Juncture sat behind the leader with Sablonne and Prettiest, the 10-11 favourite, bringing up the rear in the five-strong field.

Agartha in the winner's enclosure after springing a surprise in the Silver Flash Stakes
Agartha in the winner’s enclosure after springing a surprise in the Silver Flash Stakes (Gary Carson/PA)

None of the four were able to get close enough to harass Agartha who found more in the straight to score by two and three-quarter lengths.

Juncture was second with the winner’s stablemate, Seisai, half a length away in third and the Aidan O’Brien-trained Prettiest a disappointing fourth of five.

“We’ve always thought a lot of her and she’s been running very well. Today we said we’d let her bowl along and she loved it. Maybe we were restricting her a bit much,” said the winning trainer.

“When we let her bowl along today, she really got into a great rhythm and galloped.

“They didn’t let her go, they followed her along all the way, she’s a good filly.

“I’d say she’ll go further too. The dam won a mile-and-a-six Listed race, so she could certainly go a mile at two anyway.”

Agartha could now head for the Group Two Debutante Stakes at the Curragh next month.

“We’ll probably head for the Debutante with her now. We’ve always had a very high opinion of her and she’s done nothing but improve with each run,” O’Brien added.

Samedi has Irish St Leger target

Joseph O’Brien has his sights set on the Irish St Leger for prolific winner Baron Samedi.

The four-year-old scored seven times on the trot, including the Belmont Gold Cup, before his winning streak was brought to an end when fifth behind Broome in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud this month.

O’Brien is targeting the Comer Group International Irish St Leger at the Curragh on September 12, with a possible prep run first.

“Baron Samedi has the Irish St Leger as his main target and may have a run before then,” said the County Kilkenny trainer.

“If he does run before it will be in the Irish St Leger Trial.”

O’Brien will take time to consider several options later in the season for his Group One Pretty Polly Stakes winner Thundering Nights.

The form of her Curragh win got a boost when runner-up Santa Barbara subsequently landed the Belmont Oaks – and an international campaign may also be on her agenda.

O’Brien said: “Thundering Nights is on a little rest at the moment, and we have no immediate plans.

“She has some options in France, Ireland and America later on in the year – so we’ll be concentrating on the late summer and autumn.”

Hadman set to progress to better things after Naas triumph

Hadman could be stepped up in class after following up a narrow Curragh success in the Irish EBF Median Sires Series Race at Naas.

Trainer Joseph O’Brien may look at the Group Three Anglesey Stakes at the Curragh and the valuable Ballyhane Stakes back at Naas next month for the Starspangledbanner colt, who made all in this six-furlong contest.

Ridden by 5lb claimer Dylan Browne McMonagle, Hadman (2-1 favourite) kept on dourly to hold Geocentric by three-quarters of a length. Heart To Heart was a length and a half away in third.

“He’s improving away with each run and is a good, tough, solid horse,” said O’Brien.

“Dylan gave him a good ride and controlled the race. He fought on well.

“I’ve nothing in particular in mind, but maybe something like the Anglesey Stakes at the Curragh. That’s just over six furlongs and he’s already won at seven. Something like that might be a logical step for him.

“The Ballyhane Stakes back here could be another option and he might travel a bit later in the year.”

Storm Legend (9-2) is to continue his career in Hong Kong following his victory in the Naas Nursery Of Champions Race.

Unlucky in a Listed race at the Curragh last weekend, the son of Night Of Thunder gained compensation with a head verdict over the fast-finishing Acanella in the hands of Chris Hayes.

Trainer Fozzy Stack reports the three-year-old colt could run at Goodwood before heading to the Far East.

“The plan is for him to go to Hong Kong in August and he might run in the Group Three in Goodwood (Bonhams Thoroughbred Stakes) on the way there to quarantine. It ties in as he has to be in Newmarket around the start of August,” said Stack.

“It’s nice to have a winner for that man (Boniface Ho Ka Kui). It was very kind of him to send me the horse after he was in John Oxx’s last year.

“I hope he’s lucky for him in Hong Kong and he could make into a Hong Kong Derby horse. He’ll definitely get a mile and he could get a mile and a quarter as there is plenty of stamina in his pedigree.”

Irish St Leger target for Dawn Patrol

Dawn Patrol is likely to be aimed at the Comer Group International Irish St Leger following his fine run in defeat at the Curragh on Saturday.

Trainer Joseph O’Brien is keen on a crack at the Classic in September after the four-year-old failed by only a short head to catch Cadillac in the Group Three International Stakes over a mile and a quarter.

It was the Galileo gelding’s first start for the County Kilkenny handler since he was bought by the Lloyd J Williams Syndicate out of Aidan O’Brien’s stable.

“I thought it was a great run from him, for a horse that you would imagine his optimum distance would be further,” said O’Brien.

“I suppose something like the Irish Leger would be an obvious target for him.

“He won over two miles at the Curragh last year so we always had him in our head as a staying type.

“I was actually surprised because in another stride he would have won.”

When asked if he could be considered for the Lexus Melbourne Cup later in the year O’Brien added: “He could be but we still have to do all those scans and things. It’s going to be a very strenuous process so I don’t know exactly who is going to be able to go.

“If we don’t go there, there are plenty of other places in the world we can go.”

Velocidad speeds to Airlie Stud Stakes success

Velocidad maintained her unbeaten record as she ran out an impressive winner of the Airlie Stud Stakes at the Curragh.

A debut scorer at Fairyhouse, the Joseph O’Brien-trained filly looks something of a bargain-buy at just 25,000 guineas.

Running in the colours of his mother, Anne-Marie, Velocidad was keen in the early stages, but perhaps not quite as keen as the favourite, Fozzy Stack’s Queen Mary third Cheerupsleepyjean.

It was Aidan O’Brien’s Yet who put the pace to the race, with only four fillies lining up in the Group Two, but on entering the final furlong Velocidad (85-40) displayed a taking turn of foot for Declan McDonogh.

The daughter of Gleneagles quickened two and a quarter lengths clear of Yet, with Cheerupsleepyjean keeping on at the one pace back in third.

“She won nicely, Declan gave her a lovely ride and she’s a good filly,” said O’Brien.

The Velocidad team have plenty to look forward to
The Velocidad team have plenty to look forward to (PA)

“Gleneagles probably wasn’t very fashionable last year, but he’s a good stallion. Trade is very fashion orientated.

“She’s always shown a lot of speed, but it is a staying family. Today she looked quick and she’s a Group Two winner now so whatever happens from hereon in is a bonus.

“I suppose the Cheveley Park would be the longer-term target.”

Thunder Moon on Royal redemption mission for O’Brien

Joseph O’Brien has put a line through Thunder Moon’s disappointing display in the 2000 Guineas and hopes he can bounce back in the St James’s Palace Stakes next week.

The event for three-year-old colts at Royal Ascot usually brings together the Guineas formlines along with those who missed the Classics for one reason or another.

Thunder Moon went off an 11-2 chance at Newmarket but trailed home last of the 14 runners.

“Thunder Moon obviously disappointed at Newmarket, so we’ve put a line through that run. We had an eye on the Irish Guineas but when the ground looked like it was going to be soft – which it was – we rerouted to go to Ascot and his preparation has gone well,” O’Brien told Nick Luck’s Daily Podcast.

“Nothing really came to light other than the fact he got very upset pre-race, we didn’t have much of an excuse. He’s been well since, unfortunately these things happen and we’ve just put a line through it.

“There’s always the possibility (that he hasn’t trained on) but his work has been nice at home. He’s always been a sharp worker and his work has been good in preparation for this race. You never know until they do it on the track and that is where it matters.

“I think it’s a suitable race, a relatively easy mile compared to the Curragh, it’s certainly easier than that, so it looks a good race for him. I think he goes there with an outside chance, certainly a good chance if he can get back to his best form.”

O’Brien has also suffered disappointment with his leading juvenile filly from last year, Pretty Gorgeous, who had to miss Newmarket and could only finish seventh in the Irish Guineas.

Pretty Gorgeous won the Fillies' Mile last year
Pretty Gorgeous won the Fillies’ Mile last year (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“She’s done really well. It was well documented we didn’t have the smoothest of runs with her but I was pleased with her at the Curragh, I was pleased with her comeback run and I’m excited to get her out again,” said O’Brien.

“I think her ideal ground is the easy side of good, but she’s proven effective on all surfaces. I’m happy enough with the ground for her.

“I feel good with the Ascot team, we might not have any outstanding chances but we have some nice chances. I think Pretty Gorgeous might be our best chance going over there. I’d be very pleased if we can get one on the board.”

Darasso on a roll as Samcro fails to fire at Listowel

Dual Cheltenham Festival winner Samcro failed to fire as Darasso continued his resurgence with a clear-cut victory in the John J. Galvin Chase at Listowel.

A winner at Graded level over hurdles and fences, Joseph O’Brien’s Darasso endured a largely disappointing campaign last season.

However, having bounced back to winning ways in a conditions hurdle at Killarney last month, the JP McManus-owned eight-year-old followed up back over the larger obstacles in County Kerry.

Ridden by Luke Dempsey, the 11-2 shot jumped well on the whole – and a slight mistake at the final obstacle was not enough to stop him scoring comfortably by seven lengths from Snow Falcon.

Dempsey said: “He is a good horse and did it nicely.

“I was eager enough to get ahead of (leader) Abbey Magic, who was jumping right – and the loose horse wasn’t helping me either.

“He was long at the last, but came up for me – and in fairness once he had hit the front he did it well in the end.

“It was a good performance.”

Denise Foster’s Samcro was the 11-4 favourite, after winning a Grade Three chase at Killarney four weeks ago, but was ultimately well beaten in sixth place.

Favourite backers were rewarded in the preceding Bryan MacMahon Handicap Hurdle, with Mark Fahey’s 100-30 chance Place Des Vosges landing the 21,000 euro feature by eight lengths in the hands of Mark Bolger.

Fahey said: “It was her first time over three miles, and you don’t know unless you try it. Mark gave her a great ride.

“I’ve had her a year and a half, and the only time she finished out of the money was when she fell one day at Fairyhouse.

“She is very consistent. It is a nice pot to win, and I’m delighted for her owners Liam and Carol Rooney, who are part of the syndicate. It is nice for them to come down here today and lead her in.

“There is a two-mile handicap for her at the Derby weekend, and she might go there.”

David Christie has next year’s Grand National meeting at Aintree on his radar for Winged Leader, following the odds-on favourite’s four-and-a-quarter-length triumph in the Join The Listowel Races Supporters Club Hunters Chase under Barry O’Neill.

Christie said: “He is a fine horse, and we were all set to go to Stratford with him, but he got injured on the walker and cut his leg and bruised himself. I thought that would be it, so we’ve had a job getting him back to here.

“He is going out on the grass this week, and next season I think I’ll aim him at Aintree (Foxhunters’ Chase). Aintree takes a horse that stays, but has the gallop to go two and a half miles.

“He goes on any ground, is only seven and is by Winged Love – and they are late developers, so you’d be hoping there is more to come.”

Magnanimous gesture rewarded with Listed honours

Magnanimous returned to winning form to post his first Listed success in the Glencairn Stakes at Leopardstown.

Joseph O’Brien’s three-year-old saw off both his contemporaries and elders with plenty in hand, scoring by two lengths at 8-1.

Magnanimous, without a win in his previous four starts since prevailing in a Listowel handicap last September, made the most of a minor pull in the weights under these race conditions to number his Curragh Listed conqueror Lunar Space among those behind him this time.

Shane Crosse had the Mehmas colt positioned in third entering the straight, off the pace set by Koolasice. But once he challenged and soon led a furlong out, he took control – with Four Home Two closest at the line, and favourite Sinawann another length and a quarter back in third on his belated first start of the campaign.

The winner was returning to a mile for only the second time in his career, and assistant trainer Brendan Powell said: “His run against Poetic Flare here was a good run (sixth to the subsequent 2000 Guineas winner in April) – but last time, Shane said he was all over the place on the ground at Naas.

“He said he did that really well today. I’d say that’s by far his best run.

“He was shouldering a lot of weight in his nurseries last year. He’s a genuine horse – and he loves this (good) ground.

“Hopefully he’ll go on from here. He’s got speed for seven, stays this trip well and will probably stay a bit further even in time. I’m sure there will be plenty of options for him.”

Juncture built on her debut effort with an emphatic victory in the opening Yeomanstown Stud “Shaman” Irish EBF Fillies Maiden.

Ger Lyons’ juvenile was no match for Contarelli Chapel at Naas in April, but still caught the eye there as one who looked sure to be winning races.

Colin Keane had the 11-10 favourite in front early this time, and was then prominent throughout before taking over again just inside the last two furlongs and stretching clear to win by three and a quarter lengths from Radiyka.

O’Brien’s debutant Seisai – running in the all green colours of Simon Munir and Isaac Souede much more widely associated with jumps racing, and a half-sister to Magnanimous – kept on well from off the pace to finish a promising third.

Shane Lyons, assistant trainer of the Juddmonte-owned winner, said: “We’re very happy with that.

“She was green the first day – as you’d expect – and we gave her a two-week break. She enjoyed herself, and we were a little worried that she might be a little stuffy for it.

“Hopefully she’ll improve again for that. That trip is ideal, and she’ll get a little bit further.

“That was the first box ticked. We’ll see where we go now as it’s going to be a long year with her.”

Fev Rover tries again for Classic honours at the Curragh

Richard Fahey is keen to give Fev Rover a second tilt at Classic glory in the Tattersalls Irish 1,000 Guineas at the Curragh.

The sole British-trained runner in a field of 14 fillies, the daughter of Gutaifan arguably sets the standard on this season’s form, having finished an excellent third in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket three weeks ago.

Fev Rover is set to encounter very different conditions on Sunday, however, with heavy rain in recent days ensuring the ground is testing at the home of Irish Flat racing.

Fahey said: “I believe they’ve had an awful lot of rain, and I’m a little bit worried it might be off, but she has to travel.

“There’s more forecast, but it’s one of those situations where we have to go and see what happens.”

While Fev Rover’s tremendous Newmarket effort came on a fast surface, she did win the Group Two Prix du Calvados at Deauville last season on ground officially described as ‘very soft’.

“I’ve been preaching all winter that I want to get her on better ground, and here we are running on heavy – but she has had experience of it, so she’ll handle it as well as most,” Fahey added.

“I was keen to get her to the Curragh, because I just thought the track would suit her.

“We’ve been pleased with her since Newmarket – she’s a pretty straightforward girl.”

Pretty Gorgeous winning the Fillies' Mile at Newmarket
Pretty Gorgeous winning the Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Joseph O’Brien is confident of a bold showing from Pretty Gorgeous, who has not been seen since winning the Fillies’ Mile last autumn after an unsatisfactory scope ruled her out of the Guineas at Newmarket.

O’Brien told Betfair: “Pretty Gorgeous is obviously one of our most exciting prospects for the season, having won the Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket last season. She just wasn’t quite right prior to the 1000 Guineas, so we played it safe with her and didn’t run.

“Given how firm the ground was, missing it might have been a blessing in disguise. We know from last year that she handles soft ground well, and we’ve been very happy with her in the last couple of weeks.

“She looks in great order now and will hopefully produce a big effort. Her juvenile form entitles her to be right in the mix, so hopefully she runs a big one.”

O’Brien also runs a pair of outsiders in Sense Of Style and Thinking Of You, ensuring he matches his father Aidan’s three-pronged assault.

O’Brien senior’s chief hope appears to be Joan Of Arc, who impressed in the Irish 1,000 Guineas Trial at Leopardstown a fortnight ago.

“She’s a sister to Gleneagles, and he didn’t like it soft, but she won her maiden when it was soft – so at least we know she goes on it,” said the trainer.

“Like with most of ours this weekend, she’d much prefer better ground, but we do at least know she’s gone on it before – even though it was only a maiden.

“She’s got a beautiful pedigree.”

Empress Josephine and Friendly complete the Ballydoyle trio, while Jessica Harrington saddles both No Speak Alexander and Zaffy’s Pride, who finished first and second in Leopardstown’s Athasi Stakes this month.

Of No Speak Alexander, Harrington said: “I’m not saying she will win, but she’ll be in the shake-up.”

Miss Amulet (right) finishing second in the Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket
Miss Amulet (right) finishing second in the Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Miss Amulet was declared a non-runner in last weekend’s French 1000 Guineas because of unsuitably soft ground, but trainer Ken Condon will let her line up this weekend.

The daughter of Sir Prancealot will be making her first competitive appearance since finishing third at the Breeders’ Cup in November – finishing on the heels of Newmarket Guineas heroine Mother Earth.

“It’s the last Classic she can run in, and she’ll take her chance,” said Condon.

“The two-year-old career she put together means she deserves her chance in a Guineas.

“There are genuine concerns about the ground – and as a consequence, the trip is going to be in more focus.

“The filly has trained nicely and is in good form. We’ve a good man riding her (Colin Keane), and she’s drawn around fancied horses, and we’re looking forward to seeing her back.”

Pretty Gorgeous returns in Irish 1,000 Guineas

Pretty Gorgeous and Fev Rover are among a 14-strong field for the Tattersalls Irish 1,000 Guineas at the Curragh.

The Joseph O’Brien-trained Pretty Gorgeous is set to make her first appearance since winning the Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket in October, after an unsatisfactory scope led to her late withdrawal from a return trip for the 1000 Guineas three weeks ago.

O’Brien will also saddle Sense Of Style and Thinking Of You.

Richard Fahey’s Fev Rover finished a close-up third over the Rowley Mile at the start of this month, but can expect to encounter far more testing conditions in Ireland this weekend. She is the sole British-trained representative in the line-up.

Aidan O’Brien, who won the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket with Mother Earth, will run three in the Irish equivalent.

The Ballydoyle handler’s chief hope appears to be Joan Of Arc, who impressed in the Irish 1,000 Guineas Trial at Leopardstown this month. She is joined by stablemates Empress Josephine and Friendly.

Ken Condon has declared Miss Amulet, who was taken out of last weekend’s French 1000 Guineas because of unsuitably soft ground.

Jessica Harrington runs No Speak Alexander and Zaffy’s Pride, with Belle Image (Sheila Lavery), Fantasy Lady (Paddy Twomey), Sweet Gardenia (John Joseph Murphy) and Sziget (David Bergin) completing the line-up.

Aidan O’Brien is responsible for three of the eight runners in the Tattersalls Gold Cup – but the brilliant filly Love is not one of them.

Serpentine winning last year's Derby at Epsom
Serpentine winning last year’s Derby at Epsom (Bill Selwyn/PA)

Last year’s 1000 Guineas and Oaks heroine will have to wait to make her seasonal reappearance – with her trainer instead relying on Broome, Serpentine and Tiger Moth.

Broome is unbeaten in three starts this season, while last year’s shock Derby winner Serpentine runs for the first time since finishing fourth in October’s Champion Stakes at Ascot.

Dermot Weld’s dual Irish St Leger scorer Search For A Song steps back in distance after finishing second in Listed company at Leopardstown last week – while Willie Mullins saddles True Self, who was last seen claiming a lucrative success in Saudi Arabia.

Noel Meade’s Helvic Dream, the Andrew Slattery-trained Sunchart and Cayenne Pepper from Harrington’s yard are the other hopefuls.

Mighty Blue dominates Vintage Tipple Stakes

Mighty Blue produced a dominant display to land the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Vintage Tipple Stakes at Gowran Park.

Joseph O’Brien’s dual-purpose mare finished third at the Cheltenham Festival on her penultimate start, but was slightly disappointing when favourite to make a winning return to the Flat in last month’s Noblesse Stakes at Cork.

However, stepping back up in distance for this Listed assignment, Mighty Blue travelled strongly on the heels of the leader before moving to the front two furlongs from the finish.

From that point the 6-1 shot never looked in any real danger of being caught – really asserting in the closing stages to seal a seven-and-a-half-length victory under Dylan Browne McMonagle.

Outsider Lismore held on for second, just ahead of Yaxeni in third and Princess Zoe in fourth.

O’Brien’s assistant Brendan Powell said: “It was a good performance. She’s a good, tough filly.

“She’s been on the go all year – she ran well at Cheltenham and ran a nice race at Cork, where the ground was probably a bit quick for her.

“Dylan said she travelled away, got a lovely lead – and the further she went the better she won.”

The testing conditions played to the winner’s strengths, and Powell added: “She has plenty of size to her and she’s still a novice next year over hurdles, which is amazing really when you think of it.

“I think the ground is the key to her – she loves soft ground.

“I’d say Joseph will give her a holiday when she needs it, but she’s not showing any signs of it at the moment.”

Too Soon To Panic was a second authoritative Listed winner on the card, in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Victor McCalmont Memorial Stakes for trainer Fozzy Stack and jockey Chris Hayes.

The four-year-old, like Mighty Blue well beaten in the Noblesse Stakes last time, had no trouble with this drop back to nine and a half furlongs – winning by two and three-quarter lengths at 12-1.

Hayes had her in front early, soon settled in behind and then took over again from favourite French Fusion two furlongs out before scooting clear – with Empress Josephine eventually keeping on best of the rest to take the runner-up spot.

The winning jockey said: “She deserved that. That’s a serious piece of training and placing, I think.

“They kept her in training this season with the hope of getting black-type and to try and find a race like that.

“She’s a valuable asset now and has her job done, so I don’t know what Fozzy will want to do. It was a brave call, and good placing.”