After the Irish trainers annihilated the British in the Cheltenham Festival, flat trainers from the other side of the British Isles will be hoping to have the same effect in the Classics this season – particularly The Derby.
The 1000 Guineas crops up on the calendar first for the three-year-old fillies, with the Oaks following up only four weeks later.
Will the Irish fleet land another Classic success in the Oaks? We take a look at some of the fillies that could claim victory on the famous Epsom Downs.
High Definition (7/2 – bet365 + Coral)
Galileo has sired five victors in the Derby and it could well be a sixth in the form of the seriously impressive High Definition.
Aidan O’Brien’s won both of his starts last season, gathering plaudits for his rapid turn of foot to beat stablemate Wordsworth in the final 100 yards in a maiden at the Curragh in August.
The talented youngster followed that success up with victory in the Group 2 Beresford Stakes a month later, showing off his speed to snatch victory from Monaasib.
With High Definition likely to head to the Derrinstown Derby Trial next, he could well bolster his Derby credentials if he can prove himself with the step up to 1m2f.
Bolshoi Ballet (10/1 – Sky Bet + William Hill)
The three-year-old had mixed fortunes last season but he used his experience to his advantage at Leopardstown, showing his ability when pulling clear to win by two and a quarter lengths.
Bolshoi Ballet can progress into a top-class performer over the middle distances this season and could join High Definition in the Derrinstown Derby Trial next month.
Mac Swiney (20/1 – Various)
Five winners of the Vertem Futurity Trophy Stakes have gone on to win The Derby (the latest being Camelot in 2011-12) and Jim Bolger will be hoping Mac Swiney can join that elite group of runners this season.
A dual Group winner last season, the three-year-old will need to prove his versatility this season when stepping up to a mile-and-a-half this term.
Sired by 2008 Derby winner New Approach (who won under Bolger) and a half-brother to 1m2f turf winner Slaney Street, Bolger’s prospect could develop into a real talent this season if his pedigree is anything to go on.
With entries in the British and Irish 2000 Guineas, Mac Swiney is one to keep an eye on in the early stages of this season.
Ace Aussie (66/1 – Betfair + Paddy Power)
An outsider in the ante-post betting currently, Ace Aussie could be a surprise contender if he is aimed for The Derby in over six weeks’ time.
A winner at seven furlongs, the colt ran a cracker in the 2,000 Guineas Trial at Leopardstown two weeks ago when motoring on in the final stages to claim second.
However, it’s his pedigree that catches the attention here. By triple Group 1 winner Australia and closely related to 1m4f winner Giuseppe Garibaldi, Jessica Harrington’s youngster could prove to be useful over the middle distances in time.
If his trainer decides to try their chances in The Derby, Ace Aussie could be an intriguing runner in this field.