Sunday: 3.45 Curragh
Tattersalls Irish 1,000 Guineas (Group 1) | 1m | 3yo fillies | RTV/RTE1/ITV4
Aidan O'Brien will be seeking a fifth win in the last six runnings of this Classic prize, but Sunday's feature could also deliver a landmark win for trusted ally Seamie Heffernan.
No rider has won the Irish 1,000 Guineas three years in a row, but that is what the 49-year-old is out to achieve on exciting Leopardstown trial winner History, one of four in the race for O'Brien.
Newmarket 1,000 Guineas third Tuesday is the mount of Ryan Moore, who has won the race on Marvellous (2014), Winter (2017) and Hermosa (2019) but lost out to Heffernan in a tight finish last year on Joan Of Arc, beaten by Empress Josephine.
"We were very happy with Tuesday's run at Newmarket and she seems to be in good form," said O'Brien, who will be bidding to mark the 25th anniversary of his first Classic win in this race with Classic Park.
"Frankie [Dettori] thought she would be really suited by the Irish 1,000 Guineas last time. She's not a three-year-old until June so it's incredible to be doing what she's doing.
"We were very happy with History's first start of the year at Leopardstown. We think she can stay further as well."
Concert Hall (Wayne Lordan) proved herself over a mile and a quarter when winning the Salsabil Stakes four weeks ago but has solid form over seven furlongs from last season, while Leopardstown maiden winner Lullaby (Emmet McNamara) must improve considerably.
O'Brien added: "Concert Hall has come out of her first start of the season at Navan well. We can step back up in trip if we want, but she's in good form. Lullaby was a little disappointing last time at Leopardstown so hopefully she can leave that run behind."
Weld: Homeless Songs ready for "excellent renewal"
It has been 40 years since Dermot Weld first won this race with Prince's Polly and the legendary trainer must have an excellent chance of making it a fifth Irish 1,000 Guineas triumph with Homeless Songs.
Chris Hayes described the turn of foot she showed last time at Leopardstown as "extraordinary", and Weld is pleased with his representative after skipping Classic options at Newmarket and Longchamp.
"Everything is well with her and she takes her chance in what I think is an excellent renewal," said Weld. "We're satisfied that we have her in good shape for this, but in my opinion it's a very open race. I think the ground should be nice on Sunday."
In-form Haggas pleased with French recruit
Only two of the last 17 runnings have gone to British challengers but the visiting party have two leading contenders this year.
In-form trainer William Haggas is looking forward to saddling quality French recruit Purplepay for the first time, with Tom Marquand having his first ride in Ireland on Sunday.
Haggas said: "She’s new to us. I like her. She works well, and is in good form and has a good draw in stall seven."
James Ferguson was denied the chance to saddle his first Classic runner at Newmarket due to a last-minute setback with Mise En Scene but believes the Curragh could suit his star filly better than the Rowley Mile.
"She's in good order and we're looking forward to the race," said Ferguson. "It's very competitive, but she goes there with a chance."
What they say
Joseph O'Brien, trainer of Agartha
We're hoping for a big run. It looks a good renewal with a big field. She's versatile in terms of the ground and we're happy with her draw [stall ten].
Fozzy Stack, trainer of Hermana Estrella
She's in good shape. It'll be interesting to see how she gets on for her first start back.
Noel Meade, trainer of Lady Of Inishfree
We were happy with her run behind History at Leopardstown. It was her first start of the season and she got caught out wide but she still ran well.
Jessica Harrington, trainer of Villanova Queen
We just hope there won't be too much rain. I thought it was a lovely run from her at Leopardstown last time when dropping back to seven furlongs.