Al Thakhira to relish yielding conditions in Irish 1,000 Guineas at the Curragh

Lightning Thunder’s trainer Olly Stephens is holding fire on her participation until walking track tomorrow morning

Richard Hughes: has picked up the spare ride on Marco Botti’s Al Thakhira.

Richard Hughes: has picked up the spare ride on Marco Botti’s Al Thakhira.

 

With Frankie Dettori in Group One action in Paris, Hughes comes in for the ride on the Marco Botti-trained filly who operates well on soft ground and comes to the Curragh on the back of a luckless attempt on the French Guineas a fortnight ago.

Drawn wide, and bumped early in the straight, Al Thakhira finished out of the money but was still beaten only half a dozen lengths by Avenir Certain.

Since Miss France won the English Guineas, an argument can be made for the French fillies being at the top of the pile this year and it is hard to ignore how Al Thakhira had Lightning Thunder well behind her when landing last year’s Rockfel. Tomorrow morning Lightning Thunder was only a neck off Miss France in the Newmarket Guineas but her trainer Olly Stephens is going to hold fire on her participation until walking the track tomorrow morning.

“There are 15 different versions of the weather forecast. It really comes down to how much it rains between now and then,” Stephens said yesterday. “They are calling it yielding. If it’s yielding we’ll go for it. But if it’s extreme we’ll take care of her and wait for the Coronation.”

Some bits of My Titania’s juvenile form make her a real contender in this race but John Oxx is adamant she needs quick going ideally, a comment that also applies to the Ballydoyle trio, with Palace, in season during her last start, an intriguing contender.

Al Thakhira, though, appears to be admirably versatile in terms of surface.

Betting on the Tattersalls Gold Cup suggests Magician is a standout and last year’s Guineas and Breeders’ Cup hero does have 7lb in hand of the cross-channel raider Noble Mission on official ratings.

What Frankel’s brother has, though, in addition to big family shoes to fill, is a proven ability to go on soft ground and he comes here on the back of wins at Sandown and Chester. However, a peak-form Magician should win – if conditions don’t deteriorate.

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