After Saturday’s Irish 2000 Guineas marks the return of the Irish classics on Saturday, the action swiftly moves into a second on Sunday with the Irish 1000 Guineas, writes Tom Masters.
Sunday’s headline race has 10 runners and unlike the Irish 2000 Guineas - the 1000 Guineas has a clear favourite in Tahiyra.
Dermot Weld’s star is the odds-on favourite to back-up Homeless Songs’ win for the same trainer last year.
But she will have to compete with a trio of Aidan O’Brien’s yard, as he looks to extend his lead at the top of the all-time trainer chart to 11 wins.
The last of a hat-trick of victories came two years ago through Empress Josephine and he has certainly come to the race this year with his big guns once more.
Here’s a look at the runners and riders for an Irish 1000 Guineas not to be missed.
1 Aspen Grove – J: Mark Enright, T: James Stack (25/1)
One of two James Stack horses entered and neither of them appear totally convincing as potential winners.
Strangely claimed her only win at her highest odds of 66/1 in Group 3 company, which saw an attempt at Longchamp in the Group 1 Qatar Prix Marcel Boussac - Criterium des Pouliches where she finished seventh.
Seems to like running at a mile which could make her an interesting option.
2 Breege – J: Jason Hart, T: John Quinn (33/1)
Started out strongly with a win and a second place in her first two races, before a third-place finish in the Group 3 Princess Margaret Stakes at Ascot.
A second-placed finish at Goodwood saw her go to Longchamp too, where she fared slightly better than Aspen Grove, finishing fifth.
3 Comhra – J: Rory Cleary, T: Jim Bolger (66/1)
Jim Bolger last won this race in 2015 and if he ends that drought here it would be a great surprise.
Finished fifth and sixth respectively at Group 3 level at this distance and finished last when stepping up to Group 2.
4 Dower House - J: TBC, T: Aidan O’Brien (33/1)
The first of O’Brien’s three charges and the only one who could be considered an outsider.
Never seemed settled at the six or seven furlong mark, including finishing five lengths behind Tahiyra at Galway last July.
Did finish third when making the trip up to a mile and furlong at Gowran Park but does not seem likely to be among the main contenders come the finish line.
5 Eternal Silence – J: Shane Foley, T: Jessica Harrington (16/1)
Jessica Harrington has won this race just once – in 2018 – and will be hoping to spring a surprise with her inexperienced filly.
She has raced only three times, finishing behind Aspen Grove at The Curragh in August, before her incredible third place finish on the same track at 50/1 has made her one to look out for here – despite finishing behind both Tahiyra and Meditate.
6 Jackie Oh – J: TBC, T: Aidan O’Brien (10/1)
The first of the five big hitters in the race and O’Brien’s second contender.
Raced just twice, both at the mile mark or more and both in 2023, making her somewhat an unknown quantity.
She can last the trip but whether she can do so amongst such established company will be interesting.
7 Meditate – J: TBC, T: Aidan O’Brien (7/1)
O’Brien’s main contender for the race this year and a filly with an awful lot of experience at just three years old.
Won in the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot a year ago, before eventually making the step up to Group 1 level.
Beaten by Tahiyra at the Curragh over seven furlongs and finished a long way behind Weld’s filly and eventual winner Mawj in the English 1000 Guineas a few weeks ago which suggests it may be too much for her.
9 Tahiyra – J: Chris Hayes, T: Dermot Weld (4/7)
The overwhelming favourite for the race and back-to-back Dermot Weld wins.
Won her opening two races, including the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes in just her second race, before narrowly finishing second in the English 1000 Guineas three weeks ago at Newmarket.
Looks the part and lasted the distance well, she could be something special.
10 Tarawa – J: Billy Lee, T: Dermot Weld (12/1)
Weld’s other raider has a far less impressive CV but seems to enjoy competing at the one-mile mark.
Finished fifth in her first race at Cork, before a first and second at Leopardstown on soft to heavy ground showed she may have what it takes to last the trip at this level.
11 You Send Me – J: Colin Keane, T: James Stack (25/1)
Stack’s other contender has experienced a victory at the Curragh but not at the one-mile mark.
Never raced above Group 3 level but seems another who prefers the longer distance which could make for an interesting watch.