Hills: Curragh mile just ideal for Judge

JUDGEMENT DAY: Just The Judge is hoping to go one better than at Newmarket in the  Etihad Airways Irish 1,000 Guineas at The Curragh tomorrow. Picture: Getty

Trainer Charlie Hills believes Just The Judge will be suited by the track at the Curragh as the filly has her second chance at Classic glory in the Etihad Airways Irish 1,000 Guineas tomorrow.

The Qatar Racing-owned three-year-old went within just half a length of giving the Lambourn handler his first Classic success in the Qipco 1000 Guineas at Newmarket.

Hills will now bid to go one better in a race his father Barry won twice with Nicer in 1993 and Hula Angel in 1999.

“We thought the track at the Curragh would really suit her – a stiff galloping mile. That is what attracted us to this race,” Hills told At The Races.

“She has come out of Newmarket very well and has done a couple of nice bits of work. She’s fit and well, it’s a Classic and there is no point in bypassing it.

“She’s just had the one run this year so we thought we’d give it a go.

“We’re drawn two so we’re on the rail. We’ll just jump her out, we don’t want to be trapped two deep on that rail so I imagine we’d go slightly forward anyway.”

David Redvers, who acts as racing manager to the owners, feels she is the one the others must fear.

“Just The Judge looks the one to beat, she’s certainly the form filly,” he said.

“Dermot Weld’s filly (Big Break) looks a very nice horse and there’s others in there who fancy their chances but ours will be favourite.

“We were keen to stay at a mile with her as she showed plenty of boot at Newmarket.

“We’d have been in the dark heading to Epsom (Oaks) about the trip but we have no question mark over a mile.

“It can also be a one-way ticket to the breeding sheds trying to stretch a filly’s stamina too early.”

Big Break was not quite ready to run at Newmarket but is primed for action now as Weld goes for a fifth win in this race.

“She’s in very good form. In an ideal situation she’d like some cut in the ground which she may not get and she hasn’t been drawn very well (16 of 16),” said Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to owner Khalid Abdullah.

“Apart from that she goes into the race in good shape.

“She didn’t go for either the English or French Guineas as she hadn’t come to herself.”

The Richard Hannon-trained Maureen was only sixth behind her stablemate Sky Lantern in the English 1000 and different tactics might be employed this time.

“We weren’t sure going into Newmarket whether she would stay the mile, 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,” Richard Hannon jnr, the trainer’s son and assistant told www.richardhannonracing.co.uk.

Eddie Lynam reports Viztoria to be ready for her Classic appointment.

The daughter of Oratorio defeated Snow Queen by seven and a half lengths at the Curragh in September before finishing second in a Group Two at Maisons-Laffitte.

She has already shown she has trained on by winning the Group Three Athasi Stakes, also on this track, on her reappearance.

“She’s unbeaten here in Ireland and the only time she has been beaten was in France,” said the County Meath trainer.

“She’s in very good form and everything has gone according to plan.

“Obviously it will be a very tough race and we’ve got that very good filly from England, Charlie Hills’ Just The Judge. She has got a very good chance and looks the one we all have to beat.”

John Oxx is double-handed with Harasiya and What Style, but both have different ground preferences.

“Harasiya is a good filly but may have a preference for softer ground,” said the Currabeg handler.

“She has been a little slow to come to hand but is pretty ready and we’ll have to see how she goes on what we hope will be good ground.

“What Style ran very well in second in the Guineas Trial at Leopardstown when I didn’t think she’d like the soft ground.

“This is a big step up again for her and she has a bit to find but fast ground should suit her. Both her and Harasiya should enjoy a step up to a longer distance in due course.”

Aidan O’Brien runs three and his son Jospeh admits he faced a hard choice on what to ride, eventually siding with Snow Queen, fifth at Newmarket.

“It was a difficult choice,” said O’Brien jnr.

“Hanky Panky won her maiden really nicely after it took her a while to win won but she eventually bolted up in Naas and Just Pretending won one of the Guineas Trials at Leopardstown.

“There wasn’t much between them but Snow Queen ran a good race at Newmarket and I’m hoping she’ll be a bit better at the Curragh.

“I’m a bit disappointed with the draw (15 of 16) but other than that we are hoping for a good run in a first-time visor and hopefully that will bring out a bit of improvement.”

Connections of the Clive Brittain-trained Masarah believe she can come on for her run in the Newmarket 1000 Guineas, where she was eighth.

“Clive says she’s come on a lot for her run in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket and he expects her to run a big race,” said Bruce Raymond, racing manager to owner Mohammed Al Nabouda.

“She wasn’t beaten far at all, they only passed her late on.”


Lifestyle

In January of 1994, RTÉ reporter Tommie Gorman was given a diagnosis that would change his life.Examine Yourself: Getting cancer made sense of everything for Tommie Gorman

In aid of Cancer Awareness Week, we convinced four of our columnists to bare all for our Examine Yourself campaign.Examine Yourself: Baring all for Cancer Awareness Week

It was an effervescent and often moving turn by an artist with a meaningful claim to the title of world’s most interesting pop star.Ariana Grande's opening night at 3Arena in Dublin proved why she is the world's most interesting pop star

Marian Duggan was in her 20s and could not imagine that her symptoms could be so serious, not even when a tennis-ball-size cyst was removed from her left ovary, says Helen O’Callaghan.Examine Yourself: 'I thought I was too young to have cancer'

More From The Irish Examiner