This high class Group 1 fillies race over the Curragh mile invariably produces a very smart winner who will contest the top mile events for the rest of the campaign.
€400,000 in prize money is secondary to the kudos attached to this historic Irish Classic race first run in 1922 at the home of Irish Flat racing. Trainer Aidan O’Brien has won the race a remarkable seven times, including last year with Winter, but he has also saddled a number of beaten favourites who fell to the likes of 12/1 shot Samitar in 2012, and Jet Setting, a 9/1 chance in 2016.
Trained by Aidan O’Brien and ridden by Ryan Moore (pictured), Happily finished a fine third in the Qipco 1000 Guineas at Newmarket three weeks ago and was twice a winner at Group 1 level as a two-year-old.
Willam Buick (pictured) rides Charlie Appleby’s Soliloquy, sixth in the Qipco 1000 Guineas, and Aidan O’Brien also saddles last season’s leading juvenile filly Clemmie. Other dangers include Who’s Steph, Alpha Centauri, Chiara Luna and Lightning Quick, among others.
Happily is going to prove a tough nut to crack having run very well on her seasonal debut in the Qipco 1000 Guineas when third to shock 66/1 winner Billesdon Brook. With two Group 1 wins to her name as a juvenile she is a high-class performer, and holds Godolphin’s Soliloquy on Newmarket running (see video below). She should run another big race.
Charlie Appleby’s Soliloquy was only a length behind Happily at HQ but had the advantage of race fitness having won the Group 3 Nell Gwyn Stakes a few weeks earlier. It would be a surprise if she can turn the form around. O’Brien also runs last term’s Cheveley Park Stakes winner Clemmie, an outstanding juvenile at six furlongs but who is having her first run of the season and is by no means guaranteed to see out the extra furlongs at this level on her first start for 239 days, even though she is a full sister to dual 2000 Guineas winner Churchill.
It would be a surprise if she can turn the form around and there could be better value looking at some of the more unexposed fillies as betting alternatives.
It’s hard to knock the progressive form of Ger Lyons’ Who’s Steph who has won two Group 3’s already this season and deserves her chance here at the top table, but the value bet may be Dermot Weld’s CHIARA LUNA, a two-length fourth behind Who’s Steph at Leopardstown last time on only her second career start and after an absence of nine months (see video below).
A nice performance from Who’s Steph in the Derrinstown Stud 1000 Guineas Trial at Leopardstown
She is 8/1 with @pphorseracing for the Irish 1000 Guineas
— ODDSbible Racing (@ODDSbibleRacing) May 13, 2018
This daughter of US sire War Front was finishing off well once switched out wide and wasn’t given a hard race by any means. There are no stamina doubts for her and she is open to considerable improvement. Weld won this race back in 2010 with 16/1 shot Bethrah, and at 10/1 each-way Chiara Luna rates a value bet.
Other interesting contenders include Jessica Harrington’s Alpha Centauri, a good two-year-old who has not had her ground in two starts so far this campaign. The expected better surface could see her show considerable improvement, while Alghabrah, who finished half a length in front of Chiara Luna when third at Leopardstown last time, might also be capable of a bold show at big odds.
Lightning Quick landed the Group 3 Athasi Stakes at Naas earlier this month for Ger Lyons but has since moved to join Johnny Murtagh. The daughter of Frankel is going the right way and is another contender in what promises to be a tremendous contest.
Written by Paul Alster
Paul Alster has been part of the British and international racing media for more than three decades working as a race commentator, TV/radio presenter, journalist, betting correspondent, SP returner, and form analyst. He’s always sought out overpriced runners in handicap races, a quest that excites him as much now as it did at the start of his career.