All Eyes On Opera Singer In The Irish 1000

Aidan O'Brien will saddle Opera Singer in the 1000 Guineas | Allstar Picture Library/Alamy Live News


This year's G1 1,000 Guineas took place without Ballydoyle's Opera Singer (Justify), so there is a sense of unfinished business when it comes to the pecking order of the 3-year-old fillies at present. Sunday's Tattersalls Irish 1,000 Guineas at The Curragh should answer some questions, none more so than that concerning how straight she is for a tough reintroduction having suffered that setback. So good in the G1 Prix Marcel Boussac, some will tell you that she may not have to be at 100% to win this but when it comes to these Classics there is never a quarter given.

Most of Opera Singer's rivals have runs under their belts in 2024, including the Paddy Twomey pair A Lilac Rolla (Ire) (Harry Angel {Ire}) and Purple Lily (Ire) (Calyx {GB}), while the track's Group 1 winner Fallen Angel (GB) (Too Darn Hot {GB}) is hardened by her experience at Newmarket three weeks ago and Vespertilio (Fr) (Night Of Thunder {Ire}) has been in Classic action in France.

Ryan Moore knows the task in hand. “She really came in to herself as the season progressed last year and she was clearly very, very impressive when running away with the Boussac,” he said. “That makes her the form horse here, but she meets dangerous race-fit rivals in Fallen Angel and Vespertilio, so this is a tough return for her. You can easily see a lot of the others in here stepping forward a good deal as well, with maybe Juddmonte's Skellet chief among them. It's a tough race, as I said, but my filly is very good.”

Aidan O'Brien added, “She'll run a nice race, hopefully. She has done very well physically, but she did have a setback in the spring which cost us three weeks and if you get cost three weeks, it usually costs you two months, so that's where we are with her.”

Skellet (Ire) (Kingman {GB}), who received the special mention from Moore, is one of two TDN Rising Stars in the line-up alongside Purple Lily, and Juddmonte's acquisition has not been seen since finishing second to Dance Sequence (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) in the G3 Oh So Sharp S. at Newmarket in October. That form is not good enough, but it is interesting that Ralph Beckett sees fit to launch the season of the half-sister to Skitter Scatter (Scat Daddy) here.

Karl Burke is hoping for a turnaround from Newmarket with last year's G1 Moyglare Stud S. winner Fallen Angel, who holds the subsequent G1 Poule d'Essai des Pouliches third Vespertilio on that form. “She came out of Newmarket really well, she's in great shape and I'm very happy with her, so fingers crossed she can run a bit better for us on Sunday,” he said. “She just wasn't good enough on the day in the Guineas, it's as simple as that, but she looks in really good form and she's obviously proven on the track.”


Auguste Rodin Returns To Europe

Also at The Curragh on Sunday is the G1 Tattersalls Gold Cup, where the dual Derby, G1 Irish Champion S. and GI Breeders' Cup Turf winner Auguste Rodin (Ire) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) bids to get back on track following his lacklustre start to the campaign in the G1 Dubai Sheema Classic. Remarkably, that was the colt's third big blow-out and at this point it is hard to predict what will come from such an all-or-nothing performer. Particularly vulnerable given that Ballydoyle's horses seem slightly behind in their readiness so far this term, he could be vulnerable to Chantal Regalado-Gonzalez's race-toughened White Birch (GB) (Ulysses {Ire}), who has hijacked Aidan O'Brien's tried-and-trusted G3 Alleged S.-G2 Mooresbridge S. route to this. Amo Racing's unexposed Easter Classic winner Elegant Man (Arrogate) also cannot be excluded from the argument and it is possible that Coolmore would be happy just to see Auguste Rodin ran a stand-up race with big targets ahead.


The Marquise And The Rose

At ParisLongchamp, the G1 Prix d'Ispahan over its “funny” distance of nine furlongs and 55 yards looks filly-bound, with Baron Edouard De Rothschild's G1 Prix Rothschild and G1 Prix Jean Romanet winner Mqse De Sevigne (Ire) (Siyouni {Fr}) clashing with Yeguada Centurion's four-time Group 1 heroine Blue Rose Cen (Ire) (Churchill {Ire}). The latter, who was last seen winning the G1 Prix de l'Opera at this venue on Arc day, is another project that Maurizio Guarnieri has to get to grips with fast.

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