Tuesday 23 January 2018

Minding to make most of surprise double chance

Aidan O'Brien. Photo: Sportsfile
Aidan O'Brien. Photo: Sportsfile
Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

Minding will unexpectedly get the chance to complement her stunning 1,000 Guineas triumph and become just the third filly to follow up in the Irish version tomorrow.

Aidan O'Brien had been leaning toward sending the brilliant Newmarket heroine to Epsom for a tilt at the Investec Oaks.

However, when Ballydoyle, which emerged with plenty of credit when second at Newmarket, returned unsatisfactory blood tests yesterday, O'Brien decided to reshuffle his deck.

The exciting Australian import Vancouver also misses its intended reappearance at the Curragh today.

"Out of all the runners that we blood tested this morning, just the two of them were wrong, her and Vancouver," O'Brien said of Ballydoyle's absence from the Tattersalls-sponsored Classic.

The upshot is that the Curragh can boast having both Newmarket Guineas winners attempting Classic doubles.

Cockney Rebel and Finsceal Beo did the double-double in 2007, so it wouldn't be unprecedented, although Attraction (2004) is the only other horse to have won both of the ladies' mile Classics.

Given the impression that Minding made under Ryan Moore at Newmarket, it would be an enormous shock if she weren't to finish the job now. Stable-mates Coolmore, Pretty Perfect and Californiadreaming add depth to proceedings, as do Jet Setting and Now Or Never, amongst others.

Still, Minding confirmed her status as the most exciting three-year-old filly in training at Newmarket. She struck some as being good enough for a Derby tilt, and, while that was never a plausible option, she is clearly a serious animal.

As such, she is un-opposable in a 1,000 Guineas renewal that gets under way at the early time of 1.55 due to RTÉ's commitment to screen the Irish Open up the road at The K Club.

If Minding is the best filly of her age group, then Found is arguably the best female in training. The redoubtable Ballydoyle star danced every dance in 2015 and finished up with a memorable defeat of Golden Horn in the Breeders' Cup Turf.

Beaten on deep ground on her comeback, Found then looked in mean shape when destroying Success Days and Fascinating Rock here earlier in the month.

She will face those two once again in the Tattersalls Gold Cup, with Kevin Ryan's stalwart The Grey Gatsby also among her opposition in the €250,000 10-furlong affair.

It promises to be a great race, but Found should stamp her authority on proceedings for Moore.

The day's nap vote goes to the Chris Hayes-ridden Mutadaffeq in the closing maiden over the same trip. Kevin Prendergast's New Approach colt caught the eye when third here on his debut last year.

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