IRELAND stages racing that if fit for a Queen this weekend – if only Britain’s most famous racing enthusiast was staying that long to watch it.
There are the first two Classics of the season, the 2000 and 1000 Guineas, as well as the Tattersalls Gold Cup, featuring the much-vaunted So Yor Think, now trained in Ireland after a spell in Australia.
A total of 16 fillies have been left in Sunday’s Etihad Airways Irish 1,000 Guineas at The Curragh and Emiyna is the 4-1 favourite with bookmakers Paddy Power.
But Pat Fahy is hopeful of a big run from Ballybacka Lady, the surprise winner of the Derrinstown Stud 1,000 Guineas Trial under Fran Berry at Leopardstown earlier this month and a 16-1 shot.
Fahy, better known as a jumps trainer, said: “Ballybacka Lady will run as long as the ground is not too soft.
“She’s done well since Leopardstown having been eased off with a view to freshening her up and she was very fresh on the gallops on Tuesday morning. She just went five furlongs, not real work but a little breeze out.
“I don’t know if Fran will ride again – it depends if the ground is very quick and, if Laughing Lashes runs, then he rides her so I will then have to look for another jockey.
“It’s amazing having a horse going into a race like this – very different anyway. “I had a filly who used to run in Group races but she wasn’t good enough to win or even go close.”
Paddy Power betting on the 1,000 Guineas: 4 Emiyna, 9-2 Together, 6 Banimpire, 7 Look at Me, 9 Laughing Lashes, Misty for Me, 10 History Note, Wild Wind, 12 Handassa, 14 Chrysanthemium, 16 Ballybacka Lady, Claoimh Solas, Seeharn, 25 Majestic Dubawi, Rose Bonheur, 33 Why
Meanwhile in the Abu Dhabi Irish 2,000 Guineas market, there has been support for Dunboyne Express, who is now 5-2 second favourite from 3-1.
Favourite Dubawi Gold, who chased home Frankel in the English 2,000, has been pushed out to 13-8 (from 6-4), while Roderic O’Connor is also on the drift to 3-1 (from 11-4).
Paddy Power said: “Dunboyne Express showed in no uncertain times that he had trained on when he was impressive when winning the Leopardstown 2,000 Guineas Trial.
“Since we opened the book on Monday he is the one that punters have been coming for.”
Betting: 13-8 Dubawi Gold, 5-2 Dunboyne Express, 3 Roderic O’Connor,13-2 Zabarajad, 10 Master of Hounds, 16 Slim Shadey, 20 High Ruler, Oracle, 200 Foolproof
Sir Michael Stoute has decided against taking on So You Think the Tattersalls Gold Cup with Workforce.
Last year’s Derby and Arc hero had the 10-furlong Group One as his target for some time, but connections made no secret of the fact last week they were keen to give him an easier introduction to his four-year-old campaign.
He is now likely to appear in the Brigadier Gerard Stakes at Sandown on May 26.
Odds-on favourite So You Think made a startling first appearance in Europe when winning the Mooresbridge Stakes by 10 lengths
His Aidan O’Brien-trained stablemate Await The Dawn also looks set for a big season after his easy success in the Huxley Stakes at Chester.
Jan Vermeer, Viscount Nelson and Windsor Palace are others from Ballydoyle among the 10 acceptors.