05/21/2009 11:00PM

Ground at Curragh favors Again


Sixteen fillies will line up for the $611,000 Irish 1000 Guineas at the Curragh on Sunday, but only four of them appear to be Group 1 caliber at this stage. Again, a daughter of Danehill Dancer who was a two-time group race winner last summer on the same soft ground she will encounter in Sunday's classic mile, merits a favorite's chance, but the David Wachman trainee has been away from the races since Oct. 5 when she was an inexplicable 14th of 16 in the Prix Marcel Boussac at Longchamp.

Again's big soft-ground victories, both at seven furlongs, came in the Group 2 Debutante Stakes at Leopardstown and the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes at the Curragh. Johnny Murtagh will ride her for owners Michael Tabor and Susan Magnier. Cuis Ghaire, a two-time Group 3 winner at 2 and a sharp second to Ghanaati in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket in her seasonal debut, would make a nice upsetter, but the Jim Bolger-trained Galileo filly failed in her only try on soft ground last fall when she was eighth behind Again in the Debutante. Kevin Manning has the call.

Like Again, Lahaleeb is a soft-ground specialist. Trained by Michael Channon in Newbury, Lahaleeb won the Group 2 Rockfel Stakes last fall on good ground and the Group 3 Fred Darling Stakes last month on soft, but was only 10th in the Newmarket Guineas. Super Sleuth, a head second in the Fred Darling, might be the most improved filly in the field. She was third in the Newmarket Guineas for Brian Meehan and has been supplemented to the Irish edition for $55,000. Though still a maiden, she will give the favorites a run for their money with Frankie Dettori aboard.

Famous Name can finally live up to his potential in the Group 1, $417,000 Tattersalls Gold Cup. The distance of 1 5/16 miles on soft ground should be right up his alley. Just a head second to Vision d'Etat in last year's French Derby over the same distance, the Dermot Weld-trained Famous Name was second to Curtain Call last time in the Group 3 Mooresbridge Stakes off a six-month absence. In an intriguing betting contest, his stablemate Casual Conquest looms a mild favorite after his second in the 1 1/2-mile, Group 2 Jockey Club Stakes at Newmarket, while the filly Lush Lashes, a three-time Group 1 winner last year, returns from a four-month winter vacation and Thewayyouare attempts to improve on his two-length fourth behind Vision d'Etat in the Group 1 Prix Ganay on April 26.