Ballydoyle’s firepower scares off raiders
Mick Channon's Samitar is the sole remaining British entry in either of Sunday's two Group One races at the Curragh.
Given that there is over €500,000 in cumulative prize money on offer for the Etihad Airways Irish 1,000 Guineas and the Tattersalls Gold Cup, such a cool overseas response will be a source of disappointment to sponsors and the racecourse executive.
With ground conditions forecast to be perfect for Flat racing, why two prestigious and generously endowed contests have essentially been ignored by the international community is a question for another day, but the potency of the home challenge doubtless has something to do with it.
Since 2008, both feature events have been shared exclusively by either a Coolmore-owned or Dermot Weld-trained representative and these two venerable institutions are again to the fore.
Ballydoyle's Homecoming Queen, a runaway winner of the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket, was initially installed the 6/4 favourite by Paddy Power to confirm that 25/1 triumph was no fluke in the Irish equivalent.
However she was soon clipped to 5/4, with Aidan O'Brien also responsible for the second favourite Maybe, last year's Moyglare Stakes heroine who suffered a first defeat when third at Newmarket.
The Tattersalls Gold Cup has gone the way of four long odds-on shots in the past six years and a desperately one-sided book again seems likely.
So You Think, a ready winner at odds of 1/7 last year, is one of six Ballydoyle entries among a potential maximum of nine.
St Nicholas Abbey, twice a runner-up since scorching to victory under Joseph O'Brien at the Breeders' Cup in November, also features, though he is expected to try for back-to-back Coronation Cup triumphs at Epsom on Friday week instead.
Meanwhile, senior jumps handicappers have allotted Kauto Star the highest steeplechase rating — 180 — for a fourth time in six years, and a seventh in all.
Ulster-owned Hurricane Fly (170) shared the honours in the two-mile hurdling division with the Rock On Ruby.