Churchill the dominant force as Aidan O'Brien plots further Guineas domination
By Thom Malone
Aidan O’Brien will be looking to make history at the Tattersalls Irish Guineas Festival this weekend. The master of Ballydoyle brings his two Newmarket Guineas winners to The Curragh looking to secure an unprecedented Guineas double-double.
On Saturday Churchill puts his winning streak on the line in the first Irish Classic of the season. Given his performance in victory at Newmarket, the likelihood he has improved since then, the trainer’s record in the race and his form last season, it is easy to see why Churchill is such a short price.
If he does win the Tattersalls Irish 2000 Guineas, it will be O’Brien’s 11th triumph in the race. This is made more incredible when considering his first was only in 1997, meaning Blur v Oasis pre-dates Aidan O’Brien’s flat domination.
O'Brien doesn’t always have it all his own way and last year Shane Foley was on board when Adrian Keatley's Jet Setting gave him a career first Group One victory at the expense of the Ballydoyle superstar Minding in the Tattersalls Irish 1000 Guineas. Foley could be the man to upset “the Lads” of Coolmore again this year.
He rides Irishcorrespondent who has been very impressive in his two starts so far. Connections have rolled the big dice and supplemented him for the race. If their bravery is rewarded, it will be a first Classic for Curragh trainer Mick Halford.
The fillies equivalent, the Tattersalls Irish 1000 Guineas goes to post on Sunday and it’s a similar scenario with an O’Brien-trained favourite, Winter, appearing here on the back of victory at Newmarket, and Halford training the second favourite in Rehana. The Tattersalls 1000 Guineas has a small but quality field and if Rehana doesn’t give Winter most to think about, perhaps Intricately, trained by O’Brien’s son Joseph, could.
The rewards for patrons aren’t just for picking winners at The Curragh on Sunday, dress to impress and there are thousands of euro worth of prizes on offer for the Killashee Irish Tatler Style Icon competition for the most stylish lady and man.
Aoibhin Garrity adds style judge to her long list of talents. She’ll be alongside Norah Casey and Eoghan MacDermott picking the most stylish. Invariably these are two of the most hotly-contested heats of the weekend, making the task of judging an unenviable one.
To be a part of the Tattersalls Irish Guineas festival and witness history in the making book tickets and hospitality on www.curragh.ie.