The old adage about form being temporary but class permanent got underlined in style when Homeless Songs supplied Dermot Weld with a 20th Curragh Classic in Sunday's Tattersalls Irish 1,000 Guineas.
Under Chris Hayes, the 11-2 shot produced what her jockey described as a "freakish turn of foot" to rout the favourite Tuesday by five and a half lengths, with the latter's stable companion Concert Hall in third.
It secured Weld’s landmark tally at his local track while he reckoned his overall European Classic haul now stands at 27.
Considering the first of them was in 1981 with Blue Wind under Lester Piggott in the Epsom Oaks – and the first of his quintet of Irish 1,000 Guineas winners was four decades ago to the day – Homeless Songs is just the latest evidence of Weld's extraordinary longevity.
She also confounded a recent run of stable form that had her 73-year-old handler very much on the ‘cold’ list. Just one winner in the previous three weeks was a notably discouraging statistic going into a Classic.
However, from three furlongs out it was obvious that overall form was irrelevant to the individual class oozing from the Moyglare Stud-owned filly.
Weld’s belief that Homeless Songs’ searing pace would see her win a Group One at six furlongs meant his only worry beforehand was the mile trip.
But if the capacity to carry speed over distance is a definition of class, then Homeless Songs proved she possesses it in spades.
“A very special filly,” was the verdict of both trainer and jockey and she was cut to 4-1 for a clash with the English and French Guineas winners, Cachet and Mangoustine, in Royal Ascot’s Coronation Stakes next month.
Weld won that race all of 44 years ago with Sutton Place but insisted the job of training remains just as fulfilling, especially when in possession of a rare talent such as his latest top-flight star.
“Every Classic is very special and difficult to win and she’s a very special filly,” he said. “My only concern was whether she could carry that speed over a mile but she relaxed beautifully for Chris and he gave her a most perfect ride.”
Weld was also quick to remember his former stable jockey Pat Smullen who passed away in 2020 and would have celebrated his 45th birthday on Sunday. He won a Listed race on the dam of Homeless Songs.
It was a fourth Curragh Classic for Hayes including a pair of Leger wins for Weld as well as Awtaad in the 2,000 Guineas in 2016. This latest victory cemented his status as the trainer’s No 1 rider this season.
“Our horses aren’t really hitting the boards at the minute and hopefully this is the turning point,” he said. “It was nice to get the colts’ one, now we have the fillies’ one. Any day you ride a Classic winner is a good day.”
In contrast to Weld, William Haggas’s stable form could hardly be hotter.
A strike rate bordering on 50 per cent this week was further boosted by German 2,000 success for Maljoom in Cologne a couple of hours before Alenquer secured Group One glory in the Tattersalls Gold Cup.
It was a perfect first ride in Ireland for jockey Tom Marquand, who denied Ryan Moore on the pace-forcing 20-1 outsider High Definition by a neck.
“I didn’t even know my way to the start an hour ago!” the English rider joked. “We always thought we would win a Group One over a mile and a half. Today being a mile and a quarter is hopefully a sign there are better things to come from him.”
Colin Keane was the most prolific jockey on Sunday with a 314-1 hat-trick including Ger Lyons's newcomer Zarinsk, who made all in the opening two-year-old maiden.
Separately, Group One ambitions for Pearls Galore are intact after she emerged on top in the Group Two Lanwades Stud Stakes.
"The fillies races through the summer, the Falmouth, Prix Rothschild and the Matron, maybe the Foret and the Breeders' Cup Mile, that sort of programme we are looking at," explained trainer Paddy Twomey.
After an official attendance of 5,200 at the previous day’s 2,000 Guineas, Sunday’s crowd came in slightly lower at 4,800.
The Curragh's new chief executive Brian Kavanagh expressed satisfaction at the attendances and said it was great to be back in business at the revamped €81 million facility that raced largely behind closed doors for the previous two years.
“There’s a good atmosphere, great facilities and a good spread of winners. The feedback we’re getting is that people will come back and numbers will come over time,” said Kavanagh.
“Eva-Maria Haefner [Moyglare Stud] has put so much into funding the gallops here so it was great to see her win a Classic with a horse trained on the Curragh,” he added.
Not only that but Moyglare also won the concluding maiden with the Aidan O’Brien second-string Kiss You Later.