Just The Judge Favorite in Irish 1000 Guineas
Just The Judge is set to meet 15 opponents in the Etihad Airlines Irish One Thousand Guineas (Ire-I) May 26 at the Curragh after coming enticingly close to classic victory in the English equivalent at Newmarket earlier this month.
Owned by Qatar Racing and the Sangster family, the Lawman filly led inside the final furlong in the QIPCO One Thousand Guineas (Eng-I) May 5 at Newmarket. But she could not stem an unrelenting drive of winner Sky Lantern and finished a half-length back in second, her first defeat in four career starts.
Trainer Charlie Hills told At The Races that the Curragh is an ideal track for his filly. Bookmaker Paddy Power has tabbed Just The Judge the 11-4 favorite.
"We thought the track at the Curragh would really suit her—a stiff galloping mile," he said. "That is what attracted us to this race," he said.
Ahmad Alkhallafi's multiple group III winner Maureen is the 11-2 second favorite following her sixth-place finish, 2 1/4 lenghts behind stablemate Sky Lantern, in the Newmarket classic after racing near the back of the field. Trained by Richard Hannon, the Holy Roman Emperor filly is expected to race closer to the pace at the Curragh.
"We weren't sure going into Newmarket whether she would stay the mile," Hannon's son but she finished the race off better than anything so...we can be a little bit handier and, though she has a few lengths to find with Just The Judge, we think that she has a good each-way chance."
Khalid Abdullah's Big Break makes her first start of the year for trainer Dermot Weld.
The Dansili filly, a full sister to Juddmonte's prolific group performer Famous Name, enters with consecutive wins, including an impressive 3 3/4-length triumph over males as the favorite in the seven-furlong JRA Killavullan (Ire-III) last October at Leopardstown.
While Weld seeks a fifth win in the race, trainer Eddie Lyman bids for his first with Sheila Lavery's highly regarded Viztoria.
The Oratorio filly was a handy 7 1/2-length winner over trainer Aidan O'Brien's Irish Guineas entrant Snow Queen (Danehill Dancer) in the seven-furlong Blenheim Stakes last September at the Curragh. She then finished second when cutting back a furlong in October in France in the Prix de Maisons-Laffitte (Fr-II), her lone defeat in four career starts. Viztoria cemented a classic bid at the Curragh with a length victory there when back to seven furlongs in the Athasi Stakes (Ire-III) May 6.
Other contenders include the Aga Khan's Irish group III winner Harasiya, a Pivotal filly who was group I-placed last season and makes her 2013 bow; and Chris Jones' What Style, a Teofilo filly who finished second in the Leopardstown One Thousand Guineas Trial Stakes (Ire-III) April 14 in her second career start. Both are trained by John Oxx.
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