Prince Khalid Abdullah has never won any of the three Group One prizes on offer at the
this weekend but that could change with a vengeance as the Saudi owner’s world famous pink and green colours are set to be to the forefront of all three top-flight races.
As expected Kingman dominates the betting for Saturday's Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas but Abdullah's Juddmonte team has supplemented Frankel's brother Noble Mission into Sunday's Tattersalls Gold Cup while Dermot Weld's Vote Often and Tested are in contention for that day's Etihad Airways Irish 1, 000 Guineas.
Victory in all three Group One races is a huge ‘ask’ but not impossible as Aidan O’Brien pulled off a famous hat-trick in 2008, Henrythenavigator and Halfway To Heaven landing the classics and Duke Of Marmalade scoring in the older horse highlight.
O’Brien can choose from the Derby winner Ruler Of The World and the Breeders’ Cup champion Magician in this year’s Tattersalls but a rabbit was pulled from the supplementary hat yesterday as Noble Mission was put into the 10-furlong race at a cost of €21,000.
Noble Mission may not have his brother's famous brilliance but he has looked a transformed character this season and his trainer is keen to give him a shot at a Group One.
"He has earned the right to contest a Group One," trainer Jane Cecil reported yesterday. "The likelihood of some ease in the ground came into our thinking, although he seems to go on any ground. We've been happy with him since Chester and feel he is capable of once again being very competitive."
Other notable names among the 15 left in the race are the Irish Derby hero Trading Leather and the German star Neatico.
Ground conditions at the Curragh yesterday were “yielding” which may not be good news for the Ballydoyle team in the 2,000 Guineas, with War Command leading a list of five Aidan O’Brien-trained possibles for the first Classic of the season on Saturday.
The champion trainer is seeking a 10th Irish 2,000 Guineas success and has left in the Dundalk winner Johann Strauss along with War Command who finished only ninth in the Newmarket Guineas and has a preference for fast ground.
Kingman finished runner-up to Night Of Thunder in the English Guineas and has been made a 4/6 favourite by some firms to gain Classic compensation in Ireland. Shifting Power was fourth at Newmarket but has been supplemented into Saturday’s race at a cost of €30,000.
“I think the track will suit him. It doesn’t suit us too much that Kingman’s going but there you go: he has to go.
"We can go up to a mile and a quarter later on but I think he's well worth his chance and if he finishes in the first three we get our money," said Shifting Power's trainer, Richard Hannon, yesterday.
Dermot Weld has left the Shadwell-owned pair, Mustajeeb and Alkasser, in the 2,000 Guineas while the in-form local trainer can pick from the Park Express winner Vote Often and the Gowran winner Tested in Sunday's fillies Classic.
Just 14 remain in the 1,000 Guineas, including Lightning Thunder, a neck runner-up to Miss France in the Newmarket equivalent earlier this month. Rizeena was a beaten favourite on that occasion but trainer Clive Brittain is hopeful a return to the scene of her Moyglare victory last year can produce a turnaround. The veteran trainer believes an aversion to Newmarket could be behind Rizeena's patchy record there.
“She won in Ireland, she ran a cracking race at Deauville (Prix Morny) the only place she hasn’t run at her peak is Newmarket. When she went back to Newmarket, either Rowley Mile or July course, she hasn’t produced that spark so we’re putting it down to that,” Brittain said.
“She is primed and ready to go. She’s one work away from her racing weight, give or take a couple of kilos for travelling, so I’m going back to Ireland with as much confidence as I went for the Moyglare,” he added.
John Oxx has left in My Titania, the Park Stakes winner forced to miss Newmarket due to a setback, while Aidan O'Brien can pick from three fillies, including the Leopardstown Trial runner-up Palace.