Carson has enough experience - and previous Classic winners - to ignore them all, but it would still provide a significant measure of compensation if he could steer Harayir to victory in the Irish 1,000 Guineas at The Curragh this afternoon. Since today's nine opponents appear distinctly inferior to those Dick Hern's filly disposed of at Newmarket, Harayir will start a strong favourite, despite the fact that, in the 73-year history of the Curragh Classic, no filly has completed the double.
It is doubtful, though, if any Newmarket Guineas winner has ever before arrived in Ireland with such an outstanding chance on the book. When the local bookmakers drew up prices on Wednesday, Harayir was the 5-6 favourite with John Oxx's Ridgewood Pearl, at 3-1, the only runner given much chance of beating her. Ridgewood Pearl did not run at Newmarket as the ground was considered too fast, but her seven-length success in a Listed event at The Curragh in April puts her comfortably ahead of the rest of the home-trained team, including Oxx's two other entries, Khaytada and Mediation.
But it puts her nowhere near Harayir, and a more serious threat to the favourite may arrive from Clive Brittain's Warning Shadows, added to the field earlier this week at a cost of IRpounds 18,500. Brittain is a notorious optimist, but he might stop short of recommending such a substantial investment if he did not feel there was a real chance of turning a profit. She need only finish second to do so, however, and with Harayir in the race, Warning Shadows' connections can expect nothing more.
At such short odds, though, Hern's filly is hardly the bet of the day, and with no fewer than 11 other televised races to choose from, backers may prefer domestic opportunities. Principal among them is Crumpton Hill (3.00), trained, coincidentally, by a former assistant to the Major, Neil Graham. Crumpton Hill was a convincing winner at Newbury last month, and should follow up in the Silver Bowl Handicap at Haydock, the richest race of the day in Britain.
In the previous race - one of the rated stakes handicaps which bookmakers moan about and which must, therefore, be a good thing for backers - Loveyoumillions (2.30) should prevail, having run fourth in a Group Three race in Ireland just six days ago. Elsewhere, Ihtiram (4.10) looks best in a disappointing Heron Stakes at Kempton, while Celestial Key (Doncaster 3.25) has every chance of defying top weight in a handicap involving few other in-form animals.
Traikey (4.25) should shorten in the Derby market after going on trial for Epsom at the same track, though he will need to win by a dozen lengths to match Sebastian's progress in the Classic betting. A 20-1 chance just a couple of days ago, Henry Cecil's colt is now 10-1 with all three of the leading firms.
Tomorrow's programme in Europe includes one of the British training fraternity's favourite events, the Derby Italiano, which has returned to this country in six of the last nine years. British yards account for half of tomorrow's dozen runners, with Paul Cole (Precede, Royal Scimitar), Peter Chapple- Hyam (Court Of Honour) and Clive Brittain (Luso) all hoping to add to previous successes. Henry Cecil (Balliol Boy) and Paul Kelleway (Anchor Bay) complete the British team, although Kelleway may choose to travel to Longchamp, where Pelder will have every chance of giving him his second Group One success of the season in the Prix d'Ispahan. Pat Eddery will ride Pelder, who took the Prix Ganay last month, as Lanfranco Dettori, his usual rider, is claimed to partner Del Deya for John Gosden.