Minding was an impressive winner of the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket
PICTURE: Getty Images
MINDING, the Investec Oaks favourite, will be attempting to become only the third filly to complete the Newmarket-Curragh 1,000 Guineas double when she faces 13 rivals in Sunday’s Tattersalls-sponsored contest.
It was in the same event in 1997 that Aidan O’Brien enjoyed Classic success for the first time in his outstanding career and since that initial victory with Classic Park, the Ballydoyle trainer has brought his Irish 1,000 Guineas haul to six courtesy, of Imagine, who went to win the Oaks, Yesterday, Halfway To Heaven, Misty For Me and Marvellous.
Minding, a triple Group 1 winner, was an impressive three-and-a-half-length winner at Newmarket three weeks ago and got the go-ahead for the Curragh Classic only on Friday morning, when her stablemate Ballydoyle was ruled out due to an unsatisfactory blood count.
‘Surprised if she is defeated’
O’Brien said: “We were thinking of sending Minding straight for the Investec Oaks but decided to declare her for the Curragh when we had to rule out Ballydoyle. She’s in good form and the rain shouldn’t inconvenience her, although we wouldn’t like to see it getting very testing.
“She came out of her Newmarket win well and we’re happy with her.”
Ryan Moore, who was on board Minding at Newmarket, takes the ride again and is expecting to secure another Classic.
He said in his Betfair blog: “She clearly brings the best form into the race and certainly wouldn’t mind any rain, so of course she is the one to beat and I’ll be disappointed and surprised if she is defeated.
“This is a big field so she will need some luck in running, but this filly has gears and gives you options.”
Minding dominates the betting and is the general 1-3 favourite, while Now Or Never, an impressive winner of the 1,000 Guineas Trial at Leopardstown last time and the mount of Kieren Fallon, is the only other filly trading below a double-figure price.
Now Or Never is trained by Michael O’Callaghan, who has made an excellent start to his training career and saddled Saturday’s Irish 2,000 Guineas third Blue De Vega.
Regarding Now Or Never’s chance, O’Callaghan said: “We’ve been very happy with her over the last couple of days and, obviously, we were thrilled with what she did at Leopardstown last time.
“Everything was happening so easily for her that Kieren [Fallon] was sure they were going really steady up front, which is definitely a good sign.
“She’s coming in her coat all the time. She’s a dream to train because she’s so laid-back. We’re going there with a chance and we’re all looking forward to the race.”
The going on the round course at the Curragh is described as Yielding to Soft, while it is Soft on the straight course. Showers are forecast during the afternoon.
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