Fev Rover tries again for Classic honours at the Curragh
Richard Fahey is keen to give Fev Rover a second tilt at Classic glory in the Tattersalls Irish 1,000 Guineas at the Curragh.
The sole British-trained runner in a field of 14 fillies, the daughter of Gutaifan arguably sets the standard on this season’s form, having finished an excellent third in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket three weeks ago.
Fev Rover is set to encounter very different conditions on Sunday, however, with heavy rain in recent days ensuring the ground is testing at the home of Irish Flat racing.
Fahey said: “I believe they’ve had an awful lot of rain, and I’m a little bit worried it might be off, but she has to travel.
“There’s more forecast, but it’s one of those situations where we have to go and see what happens.”
While Fev Rover’s tremendous Newmarket effort came on a fast surface, she did win the Group Two Prix du Calvados at Deauville last season on ground officially described as ‘very soft’.
“I’ve been preaching all winter that I want to get her on better ground, and here we are running on heavy – but she has had experience of it, so she’ll handle it as well as most,” Fahey added.
“I was keen to get her to the Curragh, because I just thought the track would suit her.
“We’ve been pleased with her since Newmarket – she’s a pretty straightforward girl.”
Joseph O’Brien is confident of a bold showing from Pretty Gorgeous, who has not been seen since winning the Fillies’ Mile last autumn after an unsatisfactory scope ruled her out of the Guineas at Newmarket.
O’Brien told Betfair: “Pretty Gorgeous is obviously one of our most exciting prospects for the season, having won the Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket last season. She just wasn’t quite right prior to the 1000 Guineas, so we played it safe with her and didn’t run.
“Given how firm the ground was, missing it might have been a blessing in disguise. We know from last year that she handles soft ground well, and we’ve been very happy with her in the last couple of weeks.
“She looks in great order now and will hopefully produce a big effort. Her juvenile form entitles her to be right in the mix, so hopefully she runs a big one.”
O’Brien also runs a pair of outsiders in Sense Of Style and Thinking Of You, ensuring he matches his father Aidan’s three-pronged assault.
She's got a beautiful pedigree
O’Brien senior’s chief hope appears to be Joan Of Arc, who impressed in the Irish 1,000 Guineas Trial at Leopardstown a fortnight ago.
“She’s a sister to Gleneagles, and he didn’t like it soft, but she won her maiden when it was soft – so at least we know she goes on it,” said the trainer.
“Like with most of ours this weekend, she’d much prefer better ground, but we do at least know she’s gone on it before – even though it was only a maiden.
“She’s got a beautiful pedigree.”
Empress Josephine and Friendly complete the Ballydoyle trio, while Jessica Harrington saddles both No Speak Alexander and Zaffy’s Pride, who finished first and second in Leopardstown’s Athasi Stakes this month.
Of No Speak Alexander, Harrington said: “I’m not saying she will win, but she’ll be in the shake-up.”
Miss Amulet was declared a non-runner in last weekend’s French 1000 Guineas because of unsuitably soft ground, but trainer Ken Condon will let her line up this weekend.
The daughter of Sir Prancealot will be making her first competitive appearance since finishing third at the Breeders’ Cup in November – finishing on the heels of Newmarket Guineas heroine Mother Earth.
“It’s the last Classic she can run in, and she’ll take her chance,” said Condon.
“The two-year-old career she put together means she deserves her chance in a Guineas.
“There are genuine concerns about the ground – and as a consequence, the trip is going to be in more focus.
“The filly has trained nicely and is in good form. We’ve a good man riding her (Colin Keane), and she’s drawn around fancied horses, and we’re looking forward to seeing her back.”