Clemmie returns in Irish 1,000

Aidan O’Brien is simply hoping for a good performance from Clemmie as she makes her seasonal debut in the Tattersalls Irish 1,000 Guineas at the Curragh on Sunday.

A full-sister to Churchill, winner of last year’s English and Irish 2000 Guineas, Clemmie has not run since winning the Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket in late September.

As well as having to overcome a 239-day absence, Clemmie has yet to run beyond six furlongs.

“Clemmie seems to be in good form, but we’ll be very happy if she just runs a nice race,” said O’Brien.

“She will improve a ton from the race.”

The Ballydoyle trainer has another powerful string to his bow in Happily, who is also bred to be a Classic winner, being a sister to dual 2000 Guineas hero Gleneagles and Marvellous, who took this race in 2014.

She ran well to be third in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket on her seasonal bow.

“Happily came out of Newmarket very well and we’re looking forward to her running,” said O’Brien, who also saddles Could It Be Love and Most Gifted in a bid to register an eighth Irish 1,000 Guineas victory.

Soliloquy was only sixth in the fillies’ Classic at Newmarket after winning the Nell Gwyn, but trainer Charlie Appleby put that down to the wrong tactics being employed.

Appleby said: “Soliloquy won the Nell Gywn and while there was a touch of disappointment with her run in the Guineas at Newmarket, we did slightly change her run style and in hindsight we could have let our filly bowl along a bit.

“She has come out of Newmarket very well and it was always our thought after the English Guineas to take a strong view at the Irish Guineas and we can’t fault her preparation going into it.

“If she reproduces that Nell Gywn form I feel that she can be very competitive.”

Ger Lyons is happy to let Who’s Steph take her chance after winning two Classic trials at Leopardstown.

“In an ideal world the slow side of good would be perfect, no extremes, just nice ground for her,” said Lyons.

“While she won on quickish ground at Leopardstown she was a little bit stiff on it.

“We’ve been doing it 25 years, we’ve worked our way up and it’s important to have runners good enough. I’m not saying she’s good enough to win but she’s good enough to take her chance.

“To me, off her current rating she’s still shy of a Guineas horse and she has to improve, but at this moment in time I think she has the ability to be in the first four.

“I could have waited and gone straight to a Guineas, but she had no penalty for winning the first trial.

“If she didn’t win there was no point in supplementing her and if she did win as she did, we had the money to pay for the supplementation so we’ll let her run and take a chance.”

It is 37 years since Kevin Prendergast won the second of his two Irish 1,000 Guineas with Arctique Royale, but he is expecting a prominent showing from Alghabrah.

A winner at Dundalk on her reappearance, she put in her best work at the finish to get within a length and a half of Who’s Steph at Leopardstown two weeks ago.

“She’s in good form. She ran a good race in the fillies’ trial and I’ll be disappointed if she’s not there or thereabouts,” said the County Kildare handler.

“I expect her to be competitive.”

Lightening Quick won the Athasi Stakes at Naas on her last start for Lyons before being moved by owners Qatar Racing to Johnny Murtagh, who rode Again to victory in 2009.

Jessica Harrington wants decent conditions for Alpha Centauri, whom she reports to be in fine shape for this big test.

“She wants good ground and is ready to run,” said the County Kildare handler.

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