Michael O'Callaghan with Now Or Never at his yard for the launch of the Irish Flat racing season.  INPHO Photography

Michael O’Callaghan with Now Or Never at his yard for the launch of the Irish Flat racing season.
INPHO Photography


Minding remains very much in contention for next month’s Investec Oaks despite her last-minute call-up for today’s Tattersalls Irish 1,000 Guineas.

So impressive in winning both the Moyglare Stud Stakes and the Fillies’ Mile as a juvenile, Aidan O’Brien’s filly picked up where she left off at Newmarket earlier this month when running out a stunning winner of the 1,000 Guineas.

O’Brien had intended to give Newmarket runner-up Ballydoyle another shot at Classic glory at the Curragh this weekend, with Minding set to wait for Epsom.

But when Ballydoyle returned an unsatisfactory blood test on Friday morning, plans changed and Minding is now a red-hot favourite to complete the Guineas double.

“Obviously it’s a change of mind with her but she seems to be in good form,” said O’Brien.

“She was always very smart. Ryan (Moore) was always very complimentary about her and Ryan is a man of few words.

“He was very impressed with her in the Fillies’ Mile and I don’t think he was any less impressed when she won the Guineas.

“She’s a Galileo, but has plenty of speed.”

On the possibility of turning out at Epsom in just under a fortnight’s time, the trainer added: “The fillies that have run in the Oaks have nearly always gone to the Irish Guineas.

“This time we weren’t doing it. We were trying to give Ballydoyle her chance.

“We’ll take one race at a time. We are going to the Guineas with her now and then we’ll see after that.”

Minding is one of four runners for O’Brien, with Coolmore, Californiadreaming and Pretty Perfect also in contention.

Widely regarded as the biggest threat to Minding is the Michael O’Callaghan-trained Now Or Never.

The daughter of Bushranger improved upon on her previous form when claiming a decisive victory in the 1,000 Guineas Trial at Leopardstown a fortnight ago.

O’Callaghan told At The Races: “They went a nice even gallop in Leopardstown, she quickened up well and Kieren was easing her down inside the last furlong.

“I was very impressed with the way she did it on the day. I wouldn’t say I was surprised – we know she has that ability.

“She switches off lovely and her mind is her biggest attribute.”

Jim Bolger runs Newmarket sixth Turret Rocks, while trainer Adrian Keatley is hoping for better from Jet Setting after she finished ninth on the Rowley Mile.

He said: “She’s in great order and she came out of Newmarket flying. Her form is getting franked everywhere you look.

“We beat Michael’s filly (O’Callaghan, Now Or Never) and she bolted up in a trial and we were third to the French Guineas winner ( La Cressonniere) in a Listed race in November.

“She handled decent ground at Newmarket and the Curragh is a much flatter track.”

Tanaza is an interesting outsider for Dermot Weld having been off the track since finishing fourth to Minding in the Moyglare.

Big-race jockey Pat Smullen said: “She’s just taken time to come to hand, but she’s in good form now.

“She actually beat Minding in her maiden at Leopardstown, so her form is pretty solid.

“We’d obviously have liked to have had a run, but we’re happy with her at home and she’s a lively outsider.”

The two British challengers are Kevin Ryan’s Ashadihan, who won a Group Three at Lingfield earlier this month, and Czabo from Mick Channon’s yard.