Eddie Lynam issues upbeat bulletin on star filly Viztoria ahead of Irish 1,000 Guineas
Curragh manager Paul Hensey has no plans yet to water Classic ground
Johnny Murtagh on Viztoria wins the European Breeders Fund Athasi Stakes at the Curragh earlier this month. Photograph: Inpho
Viztoria will bid for Classic glory in Sunday’s Etihaad Airways Irish 1,000 Guineas but the Eddie Lynam-trained star looks like venturing into new territory in terms of ground conditions.
Unbeaten in three starts in Ireland, Viztoria is one of 18 fillies remaining in the €300,000 race and Lynam confirmed yesterday she will again be ridden by his new training colleague, Johnny Murtagh.
The latter trains and rides Saturday’s 2,000 Guineas hope Fort Knox and Lynam issued an upbeat bulletin on his star three-year-old Viztoria yesterday despite the elements looking set to conspire against her in terms of a dry week. “Viztoria is in terrific form and has thrived since winning at the Curragh a few weeks ago when she was only about 85 per cent right,” he said. “She has never raced on good ground before so we’ll find out how she does on it.”
Selective watering on parts of the round course began at the Curragh yesterday although course manager Paul Hensey is not planning to do the same on the straight mile course over which both weekend Classics will be run.
“The ground on the straight course is good. There hasn’t been much drying in it and I would be surprised if we wind up putting water on it. We will continue to monitor it though,” he said. “We are putting water on parts of the round course, particularly the higher parts which are starting to quicken up.”
Just The Judge, runner-up to Sky Lantern in the English Guineas, heads a list of four potential cross-channel runners while Aidan O’Brien has four hopefuls as he pursues a sixth win in the race.
They include Moth, one of the favourites for the Epsom Oaks which takes place just five days after the Guineas.
Camelot looks to dominate Sunday’s other Group One contest, the Tattersalls Gold Cup, after eight possible opponents were left in the 10-furlong event, half of them stable companions of last year’s triple-Classic winner.
They include the Oaks winner Was, but one definite challenger to Aidan O’Brien’s older star is Roger Charlton’s progressive Al Kazeem.
Followers of Battle Of Marengo at Epsom on Saturday week will be closely watching Sunday’s Group Three Gallinule Stakes if John Oxx elects to let Little White Cloud take his chance. The grey was only three lengths off Ballydoyle’s prime Derby hope when finishing third in the Derrinstown Trial at Leopardstown.
Also among the Gallinule entries are Trading Leather and First Cornerstone, both of whom are also entered in Saturday’s 2,000 Guineas.
One horse that won’t be lining up in the 2,000 Guineas is Olympic Glory, with Richard Hannon believing the Group One winner needs more time after a fruitless attempt on the French Guineas 10 days ago.
“He could never get into a rhythm from a bad draw at Longchamp and Hughesie [Richard Hughes] looked after him,” the English trainer reported.
“But he still had to travel to France and back and it takes a lot out of a horse.”