We’ve got back to back Classic contests in mid-June, this time over in Ireland at the Curragh. Hot on the heels of Friday’s Irish 2000 Guineas, Saturday sees the fillies given their chance to show what they are made of in the Irish 1000 Guineas.
This was first run in 1922, the year following the inaugural Irish 2000 Guineas. Aidan O’Brien is the contest’s leading trainer with nine victories spanning from Classic Park in 1997 to Peaceful in 2020.
Irish 1000 Guineas Course Map
Irish 1000 Guineas Past Winners
|2020||Peaceful||3/1||Aidan O'Brien||Seamie Heffernan|
|2019||Hermosa||5/2||Aidan O'Brien||Ryan Moore|
|2018||Alpha Centauri||12/1||Jessica Harrington||Colm O’Donoghue|
|2017||Winter||8/13||Aidan O’Brien||Ryan Moore|
|2016||Jet Setting||9/1||Adrian Paul Keatley||Shane Foley|
|2015||Pleascach||11/2||Jim Bolger||Kevin Manning|
|2014||Marvellous||10/1||Aidan O’Brien||Ryan Moore|
|2013||Just The Judge||2/1||Charles Hills||Jamie Spencer|
|2012||Samitar||12/1||Mick Channon||Martin Harley|
|2011||Misty For Me||5/1||Aidan O'Brien||Seamie Heffernan|
About the Irish 1000 Guineas
Such was the success of the inaugural Irish 2000 Guineas in 1921 that it was inevitable that the equivalent race for fillies would be introduced. So it proved to be with the Irish 1000 Guineas following just one year later.
The 1 mile race for three-year-old fillies has since grown to be every bit as important as the 2000 Guineas. Both races are now Group 1 contests and both are held at the Curragh every year exactly three weeks after the 1000 and 2000 Guineas take place at Newmarket, although in 2020 they are running just one week after their British equivalent. The usual scheduling is deliberate as the event organisers ordinarily very much want the protagonists from the Newmarket race to make the trip across the Irish Sea to compete at the Curragh.
Given the similarities between the two races in terms of the distance and the horses competing in both you’d think it would be relatively straightforward for the best horse to win both races. It doesn’t quite work like that though, as the ground at the Curragh in May or June is often considerably softer than at Newmarket.
Winning both races therefore requires an adaptability and level of experience that is often beyond the three-year-old competitors, so those in the list below who followed up Newmarket success with a win at the Curragh are certainly fully deserving of the plaudits that came their way.
DUAL Irish AND British 1000 GUINEAS WINNERS
|Hermosa||Aidan O’Brien||Ryan Moore/Wayne Lordon||2019|
|Winter||Aidan O’Brien||Ryan Moore/Wayne Lordon||2017|
|Finsceal Beo||Jim Bolger||Kevin Manning||2007|
|Attraction||Mark Johnston||Kevin Darley||2004|
LEADING CONTENDERS HAVE HIGH CLASS ROUTES IN AND OUT
Connections of horses who run in both the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket and the Curragh (and sometimes the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches, which is the top class French mile long race for three-year-old fillies) have likely made the decision to keep their fillies running over a mile for the foreseeable future.
That much is made clear by the paths taken by the main contenders, which often include the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot (Winter and Alpha Centauri won both in 2017 and 2018 respectively), the Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket and the Matron Stakes at Leopardstown towards the end of the season.
With the caveat that many horses who run in the Irish 1000 Guineas had their previous run at Newmarket, there are several potential routes into the contest at the Curragh. Whatever the route, the trends show that horses who ran in a Group level race last time out and those who had previous success at the Group level have a statistical edge.
O’Brien Ahead of the Chasing Pack
Perhaps due to a familiarity with the sort of ground found at the Curragh, Irish-trained horses have a very good record in the Irish 1000 Guineas. A quick look at the list of successful trainers includes the familiar names of Aidan O’Brien, Jim Bolger and Dermot Weld multiple times. The big beasts of Irish training are sure to have several tempting runners in the Irish 1000 Guineas in the years to come. O’Brien became the most successful trainer in the history of the race when Hermosa won in 2019, building his lead with Peaceful in 2020. It would be no surprise whatsoever if he extends the record with an tenth win sooner rather than later.
IMPRESSIVE JOCKEY RECORD TO STAND FOR A VERY LONG TIME
Seven wins is the magic number in terms of the jockeys but we have to go back into history to find the holder of that record. Morny Wing is the man at the top of the charts, which proves his highly impressive longevity. Wing partnered Lady Violette to victory in the inaugural Irish 1000 Guineas and claimed his seventh win 25 years later when Sea Symphony won in 1947.
In more recent times it’s been tough for any one jockey to have any sort of dominance over the race though Seamie Heffernan has edged into the lead with four wins, ahead of Ryan Moore, Jamie Spencer and Michael Kinane all of whom have won three times since 1980.