Aidan O’Brien bids to retain his vice-like grip on the Qipco 1000 Guineas when saddling both unbeaten Tenebrism and Tuesday in the fillies’ mile Classic at Newmarket on Sunday.
The Ballydoyle maestro has won the race on seven occasions, including five of the last six, and has the current favourite in the shape of Tenebrism, who took the six-furlong Group One Cheveley Park Stakes on the same Rowley Mile course on her second start in September.
The daughter of Caravaggio makes her seasonal return trying a mile for the first time and will be partnered by Ryan Moore.
Rather than running in a trial, O’Brien opted instead for a racecourse gallop at the Curragh.
He said: “She’s good, everything has gone well through the winter and the spring with her. She was away at the Curragh as well.
“Obviously she only won over six (furlongs) last year but she looked that day like she might get seven. Usually, if they get seven as a two-year-old, they have a good chance of getting a mile.
“Everything has been good with her. Obviously it’s a step up in trip but we’ve been happy with everything she has been doing.”
He added: “We were very impressed with what she did in the Cheveley Park.
“We were kind of going there thinking that if she was a Guineas filly she would have experience of the track and how she handled the dip.
“Really we were thinking, I suppose, that she would run a nice race and we would go on from there to see if we could train her for the Guineas or not.”
Frankie Dettori has been booked to ride Tuesday, who has similarly had two career starts.
Though beaten by Discoveries – who reopposes – on her seven-furlong debut at the Curragh in June, the daughter of Galileo opened her account in good style over a mile at Naas in March.
O’Brien said: “When she won her maiden earlier in the year we didn’t think she would be ready for the Guineas, that it would come too quickly, but she has made a lot of progress lately. She is not a three-year-old until June, so she is a late foal.
“We’ve been happy with everything she’s been doing since.
“Her sister (Minding, who took the 2016 renewal for O’Brien) got a mile-and-a-quarter and a mile and a half but then she came back to a mile at the end again.
“We are very happy with her work but obviously the plan would be to start here and maybe go on to the Oaks afterwards, like her sister did.
“We are happy with where she is, as we didn’t think we would be in this position with her four weeks ago.”
Jessica Harrington seeks her first British Classic and saddles Discoveries, who landed the Group One Moyglare at the Curragh when last seen in September.
Though her four career starts have all come over seven furlongs, the daughter of Mastercraftsman has been showing all the signs she will stay the mile, according to Alan Cooper, racing manager to the Niarchos family, who own her.
“This is a big weekend for Discoveries,” said Cooper. “She is a Group One winner at two and she has really thrived over the winter.
“Jessie and Shane (Foley, jockey) are very happy with her. She is a lot stronger and this will be her first start of the year.
“There is every confidence that the filly is spot on, but the unknown is that this will be her first start of the year.
“The ground will suit her and there are a few other unraced ones (this season) we haven’t seen yet.”
Ireland is also represented by Juncture, who impressively took a mile Listed contest at Dundalk by six lengths on her seasonal debut for trainer Ger Lyons.
French-trained fillies have won the race three times in the last 14 renewals and there is growing confidence behind the two-pronged challenge from across the Channel.
Francis-Henri Graffard saddles Malavath, who will be ridden by Christophe Soumillon.
The daughter of Mehmas has won three of her six career starts and showed her well-being beating Zellie in the Group Three Prix Imprudence on her seasonal return at Deauville.
That came on vastly contrasting heavy ground, but Graffard feels the quicker surface this time will not be to her detriment.
He said: “I couldn’t have her in better form. She came on a lot from her seasonal debut and she’s very well.
“When it comes to the ground, she’s a very versatile filly and hopefully she is good enough for a race like this. I couldn’t be more pleased with her and we’re all looking forward to it.”
Andre Fabre won the 1,000 Guineas with Miss France in 2014 and he is not afraid for Zellie to take on Malavath again.
Tom Marquand will partner last season’s Prix Marcel Boussac winner for the first time.
He said: “I’m really looking forward to Zellie and it looks a pretty open race.
“She was a Group One winner last season and she should hopefully put in a bold bid.”