Timeform Irish preview: the Curragh, Sunday May 28

The Curragh stages the Irish 1000 Guineas on Sunday
The Curragh stages the Irish 1000 Guineas on Sunday

Timeform's John Ingles previews the pattern races on Sunday's Curragh card featuring the Irish 1000 Guineas.

"Winter is a good type physically, and looks sure to have further progress to make..."

Aidan O'Brien has completed the Irish Guineas double on four occasions in the past, most recently with Roderic O'Connor and Misty For Me in 2011, and with both of his Newmarket Guineas winners short prices to follow up in the Irish equivalents at the Curragh this weekend, Churchill and Winter could easily be the latest pair to win the two classics for Ballydoyle. Winter has shown considerable improvement in her two starts this spring and kept on well for a two-length victory over her better-fancied stable-companion Rhododendron - the current Oaks favourite - in the 1000 Guineas. Winter is a good type physically, and looks sure to have further progress to make, in which case she'll take all the beating in what's an all-Irish affair this year.

In winning at Newmarket, Winter comprehensively turned the tables on another stable-companion Hydrangea who ran poorly after making much of the running. Hydrangea had good form at two - runner-up in the Moyglare Stud Stakes and to Rhododendron in the Fillies' Mile - and had made a winning reappearance in the 1000 Guineas Trial at Leopardstown ahead of Winter and Rehana. Like Winter, Rehana has come out and won since, though in making all the running to beat a couple of older fillies in the Athasi Stakes at Naas Rehana didn't need to improve and nor has she yet tackled a mile.

Intricately had Hydrangea, Rhododendron and Rehana just behind her when a long-priced winner of the Moyglare Stud Stakes last September, but Joseph O'Brien's filly was another who didn't give her running in the 1000 Guineas after finishing fourth in the Leopardstown trial. Fifth at Leopardstown was Teofilo's half-sister Bean Feasa and she's another winner to have come out of that race as she shed her maiden tag when successful in the Derrinstown Stud 1000 Guineas Trial back at Leopardstown earlier this month.

Besides Winter and Hydrangea, Ballydoyle will also be represented by Roly Poly, sixth in the French version of the Guineas two weeks ago, and possible pacemaker Asking who was runner-up to Bean Feasa at Leopardstown two starts ago.

Aneen, a half-sister to last year's Irish 2000 Guineas winner Awtaad, completes the field for Kevin Prendergast. She looked a promising filly when beating a huge field of maidens at the Curragh in October by upwards of four lengths but this will be a big step up for her reappearance.

Minding is an absentee from the other Group 1 on the card, the Tattersalls Gold Cup, which gives it a more open look. Nonetheless, Aidan O'Brien still has three chances, including with another filly, Somehow, who's being kept busy. She turns out just eight days after running a below-form fourth in the Lockinge at Newbury, though her win in the Dahlia Stakes at Newmarket earlier in the month itself came just a week after a success in a listed race at Gowran. Stable-companion Deauville also makes a relatively quick return to action after his success in the Huxley Stakes at Chester.

Johannes Vermeer, lightly raced since a Group 1 win in France at two, completes the trio from Ballydoyle which was last successful in this race with So You Think in 2012. Roger Charlton, winner of two Tattersalls Gold Cups with Al Kazeem, is responsible for the only British challenger in this year's line-up Decorated Knight who has a good chance if back to his best. He's an improved winner of four of his last six races, notably the Jebel Hatta at Meydan in March, though we didn't see the best of him last time when sixth in the Dubai Turf.

Confidence in front runner Success Days would be higher if conditions turned soft - as they were when he finished third in last year's race - and he went on to beat last year's winner Fascinating Rock back at the Curragh in the Royal Whip later in the season. He warmed up for this with a close second in the Alleged Stakes at Naas last month while Moonlight Magic chased home Minding on his return in the Mooresbridge Stakes at the same track last time.

The Group 3 Gallinule Stakes over a mile and a quarter for three-year-olds is the other pattern race on Sunday's card. O'Brien has three representatives in this too, but Red Label, who showed improved form on his first start for Jessica Harrington when winning a minor event at Gowran last month, looks the most interesting of these, while Jim Bolger's filly Vociferous Marina, fourth in the Musidora at York last week, has claims on her listed win at Navan prior to that.

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