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Irish 1000 Guineas Tips – Fillies Thriller in Store on Sunday

Homeless Songs

Sunday’s Classic action remains at the Curragh as the fillies follow the boys in the Irish 1000 Guineas. In a race won by the likes of Winter, Alpha Centauri and Tahiyra in recent years, Joe Napier previews this year’s renewal and gives his 1-2-3.

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Dermot Weld’s star Tahiyra took the race in fine style last season, and her trainer bids for a hat-trick this time around.


OPERA SINGER

(Aidan O’Brien/Ryan Moore)

Opera Singer would have been respected as the star turn among all of the juveniles last season had City Of Troy not emerged from the same stable at the same time. One key difference is that the filly met with defeat twice, only to dramatically improve throughout the season, culminating in a barnstorming five-length success in the Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac at Longchamp.

She also won over this exact course and distance in the Group 3 Netownanner Stud Stakes the start before that. Her margin over the runner-up that day was six lengths, so she greatly separated herself from the opposition at two. However, there is a parallel with City Of Troy in her being by Justify, so hesitation is very reasonable as to whether she will have improved, especially as her two most talented War Front half siblings did not between two and three.


FALLEN ANGEL

(Karl Burke/Daniel Tudhope)

The 1000 Guineas favourite at Newmarket was Fallen Angel, who may yet provide an even more ominous sign for Opera Singer backers. Karl Burke’s filly could finish only eighth in the British edition, though there may have been excuse regarding the draw, while she may also improve for the run.

Drawn in stall 5, five of the seven who beat her were drawn in stalls 11 and upwards, with one of the only two low-drawn fillies to beat her having moved all the way across the track to do so (Tamfana). As such, there is hope she can step back forward, especially as her biggest juvenile victory came in the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes at this track. There is still enough for her to prove at the prices, but she cannot be ruled out.


VESPERTILIO

(Willie McCreery/Declan McDonogh)

Yet to finish outside of the top three in her five starts to date, Vespertilio is the only one of the top three with whom there can be distinct confidence as to her training on. That comes after she finished third in the Prix d’Essai Des Pouliches (French 1000 Guineas), going down by just half-a-length.

She was a Group 2 winner at two, as well as finishing runner-up to Fallen Angel in the Moyglare. Her consistency has served her well without always getting her to the post in front, but that could change here, with better ground than in France potentially suiting her more. The daughter of Night Of Thunder is almost certain to play a part.


PURPLE LILY

(Paddy Twomey/Billy Lee)

11 more go to post beyond the above trio, with the nearest in the market likely to be Purple Lily. Paddy Twomey’s filly was seen just once as a juvenile, winning a 7f Galway maiden, but has hit the ground running at three, arriving here in a similar manner to Notable Speech ahead of the 2000 Guineas.

She would hardly have been on the radar for this before comfortably winning on return at Naas. Stepped up to 1m2f, she was slimly denied in the Group 3 Salsabil Stakes when probably failing to see out the trip. She is bred to be more of a miler, so the return to this distance should be seen as a positive and she does not look ground dependent either.


THE FIELD

Purple Lily’s stablemate A Lilac Rolla is unbeaten in three starts, including when beating Opera Singer in August last year. She has not quite made as much of an impression since, but did win a 7f Group 3 on return. Behind her that day was Buttons, apparently the O’Brien second string, who improved to be second under these conditions (1m, good) at Leopardstown at the same level latest.

She appears short of what is required, as probably does Everlasting, another O’Brien inmate, on form. The fourth Ballydoyle representative, Pearls And Rubies, saved her best until last at two, claiming second in the Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes, but she still needs improvement to be involved, and that is no guarantee at this distance on pedigree.

Dermot Weld is seeking a third win in a row after Homeless Songs and Tahiyra. Azada is far less exposed than either of that pair were, winning her only start at Leopardstown in style last season. She is very much an unknown quantity but could be exciting.

As well as Fallen Angel, Skillet represents the Brits on her seasonal debut here, but would need a leap forward on her best form. Both Finsceal Luas and Queen Of Thunder are maidens who look short of the required standard, but two outsiders to note could be Alpheratz, likely to see out this trip well and arriving here in winning form, and Bluedrum who won very takingly at Naas on debut last term and can be forgiven her return on soft ground at this venue.


VERDICT

With doubts about Opera Singer and Fallen Angel, it is worth seeking alternatives with definitive form at three. The main pair to stand out are the consistent Vespertilio and PURPLE LILY, with the latter’s propensity for winning seeming stronger than the former’s. Paddy Twomey’s daughter of Calyx found 1m2f a stretch at Navan last time, but was very impressive on return over 1m and there should be few issues with any sort of ground. This is a deep field of 14 though, so plenty of dangers abound including A Lilac Rolla, Azada and Bluedrum considered too.

  1. Purple Lily
  2. Vespertilio
  3. Azada
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