Winter has leading chance of claiming elusive double
Tattersalls Irish 1,000 Guineas (Group 1) | 1m | 3yo fillies | ATR
It's been a good spring for Winter and it could get even better at the Curragh on Sunday when she bids to emulate Attraction and Finsceal Beo by completing the Newmarket-Curragh Guineas double.
The 1,000 Guineas heroine, who turned over stablemate Rhododendron three weeks ago on the Rowley Mile, is odds-on to follow up against seven rivals – three of them stablemates – in the Tattersalls-sponsored Classic.
Her trainer Aidan O'Brien enjoyed his first Classic success in the same race when Classic Park won 20 years ago, and since then he has added another five runnings of the Irish 1,000 Guineas with Imagine, Yesterday, Halfway To Heaven, Misty For Me and most recently Marvellous in 2014.
However, one thing for prospective Winter backers to note is that none of O'Brien's three winners of the Newmarket Guineas managed to follow up at the Curragh, with Virginia Waters, Homecoming Queen and Minding, who lost out to Jet Setting in a tight finish a year ago, all failing to shine.
Trained last season by David Wachman, Winter attracted plenty of market support in the days leading up to the 1,000 Guineas and landed the prize on what was her second start for O'Brien.
Ridden by Wayne Lordan there, Winter has Ryan Moore on board for the first time here and, according to O'Brien, all has gone well with the daughter of Galileo since her Classic win.
"Winter progressed well from her trial race at Leopardstown to win nicely at Newmarket," he said. "She's a fine powerful filly and has been in good form since the Guineas. All has gone well with her."
Hydrangea, who was tenth at Newmarket, Roly Poly, who ran sixth in the Poule d'Essai des Pouliches, and Asking, who was no match for Sobetsu in the Prix Saint-Alary last time, join Winter in a typically strong Ballydoyle's team.
O'Brien continued: "Hydrangea has shown she likes the Curragh. She won her maiden over the course last year and was narrowly beaten in a Group 1 and a Group 2. We think it will suit her better than Newmarket.
"Roly Poly ran quite well in France and is in good form but wouldn't want the ground to get soft."
He added: "Ryan [Moore] rode Asking in a Group 1 over a mile and a quarter in France last time and said afterwards that dropping back to a mile would suit."
Pros Progressive filly who got the trip well at Newmarket and further improvement likely
Cons Trainer's three previous fillies to attempt the Guineas double all started favourite - in Minding's case at 4-11 - and all got beat