Sharpshooter – QIPCO 1,000 Guineas

While Qabala impressed in the Nell Gwynn on Tuesday, the 1,000 Guineas market still has a wide open look to it. Joseph O'Brien has a very strong contender in IRIDESSA who looks cracking value at 16/1 and will probably be shorter on the day.

Former ace jockey Joseph has made serious waves in the training ranks in a very short time, and has already tasted glory in the Melbourne Cup, The Irish Derby and at the Cheltenham Festival. Over jumps he has certainly rattled the cages of those friendly but formidable foes Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott, while on the level he is now a serious threat to his dad Aidan in this year's Irish Trainers Championship.

Even during his stunningly successful riding career, it was no secret that he couldn't wait to start training, and his unequal battle with the scales in the weighing room gave him the excuse to exit the saddle and concentrate on his new dream job. 

He pays top dollar and has excellent and experienced staff, some of whom travelled from Australia to join his set up in Kilkenny, and now just retired trainer Brendan Powell has signed up. Classic success in the UK would really move things on to a new level and in Iridessa he has a serious Guineas player.

She started out at Killarney in mid summer and, with Seamie Heffernan aboard, sprung a 20/1 shock when pitched in against the colts, beating 4/5 Ballydoyle hotpot Cardini, four lengths clear at the line and going away. 

 She finished the season in style taking the Fillies Mile at Newmarket. It was no secret that she was not fully wound up for the recent 1,000 Guineas Trial at Leopardstown where she drifted from 7/2 to 5/1. The enterprisingly ridden Lady Kaya slipped the field here with Iridessa just losing second place very late on. 

Joseph's team were strongly of the opinion beforehand that however she fared she would improve for the run next time out and she will be at concert pitch for Newmarket. Stepping up to a mile will certainly help - she is considered Oaks material for the summer - and there's every chance that Donnacha O'Brien - who seems to share in most of Joseph's big race triumphs on the flat - will be available. Ballydoyle will have Ryan Moore, Heffernan and Wayne Lordan with their team, which could include Fairyland who is exciting but has serious stamina doubts for the mile trip.

Lordan was aboard Winter when she won the Guineas two years ago and, interestingly, she also advertised her claims with a good effort in that Leopardstown Guineas Trial where she was second to stablemate Hydrangea who finished out of the money at Newmarket.

Lady Kaya was certainly very good at Leopardstown and deserved the utmost respect if travelling to Newmarket as seems increasingly likely. But I just can't get away from Iridessa and 16/1 looks way too big. Get on!        

Selection - QIPCO 1,000 Guineas, Newmarket May 5

IRIDESSA  0.5 point each way 16/1 Paddy Power, Betfair, Bet 365, BoyleSports, Bet Victor, Unibet, Betway

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