Three UK trained fillies will cross the Irish Sea to face the massed ranks of Ballydoyle in the Irish 1,000 Guineas at The Curragh on Sunday.
Obviously with Aidan O'Brien already mopping up in the Classics, his formidable team, led by Newmarket 1000 Guineas heroine Hermosa, set the standard yet again. But it could be a UK based Tipperary man Kevin Ryan who upsets the applecart with EAST, with quite possibly another Tipp man Jamie Spencer on board!
Ryan is never one to mistake his geese for swans and he is always to be feared on his travels abroad, particularly when returning to his native land.
The lightly raced East made an instant impression when landing a novice race at Hamilton on debut last season, and went straight from that to putting some classy colts firmly in their place in a Group 3 at Saint-Cloud.
Than came what seemed a wildly ambitious venture across the Atlantic to compete in the Juvenile Fillies Turf in the Breeders Cup at Churchill Downs. She fully justified that trip to Kentucky when chasing home highly rated winner Newspaperofrecord with main Ballydoyle hope Just Wonderful - who re-opposes on Sunday - back in fourth under Ryan Moore.
This year East was on her travels again for her seasonal debut in the French 1000 Guineas at Longchamp where she finished a close third to Castle Lady. Ryan confidently expects her to improve on that again on Sunday and she looks cracking each way value at 10/1 with Paddy Power and Betfair.
Hermosa is of course very much respected yet there were doubts about her participation at Newmarket most of that week and she had been snubbed by both Ryan Moore and Donnacha O'Brien and indeed Seamie Heffernan, who would be ahead of Wayne Lordan in the Ballydoyle pecking order.
And with Frankie Dettori on Fairyland you could say she was the stable's fifth choice! No matter, the 14/1 shot ran a cracker, while Just Wonderful looked in need of the race. There must be stamina doubts about Fairyland but it's interesting that Joseph O'Brien tries again with Iridessa who disappointed big time at Newmarket, though beaten less than three lengths in the end.
Roger Varian has supplemented third placed Qabala so the pot is simmering nicely. It should be a gripping contest which will light up an otherwise tame enough Curragh Sunday card and the rapidly progressive East can make them all hop!
Selection - Irish 1000 Guineas
EAST 0.5 point Each Way 10/1 Betfair & Paddy Power