Guineas, but his grip around the fillies’ Classic 24 hours later has certainly been less vice-like.
The master of Ballydoyle has only won the 1000 Guineas (3.40pm) twice, with Virginia Waters in 2005 and Homecoming Queen in 2012.
Both of those were outsiders – 12/1 and 25/1 respectively – and it’s fair to say that he brings his fillies along more patiently than he does his colts.
O’Brien has never won this race with a seasonal debutant, which is a worry for supporters of hot favourite Minding and second string Ballydoyle.
Minding could just be a class above, though, as she was hugely impressive when beating Nathra in last year’s Fillies’ Mile over course and distance.
She is the one to beat, but there is a nagging doubt that next month’s
Investec Oaks might suit her slightly better.
Ballydoyle would prefer quicker ground and I think the bookies have underestimated the chances of stablemate ALICE SPRINGS.
The daughter of Galileo has only won two of her eight starts, yet she has plenty of experience and her reappearance at Leopardstown was clearly a pipe-opener.
She has won at this course, handles cut in the ground and will appreciate the strong pace. The 16/1 generally available looks a fair each-way price.
Lumiere is a doubtful stayer, especially if conditions are slower than good.
The Group Two Dahlia Stakes (2.25pm) is a competitive affair, but I like the look of Martyn Meade’s IRISH ROOKIE at around the 7/1 mark.
She has a little to find with Jazzi Top, but ran a number of excellent races last term and will enjoy the ground.
Irish Rookie e/w 2.25pm Newmarket
Alice Springs e/w 3.40pm Newmarket