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Horse Racing: A Classic Weekend in Ireland

It was a Classic weekend in Ireland as the Curragh staged the Irish Guineas meeting and there were some top-notch performances at the Co Kildare venue.

Homeless Songs spread-eagled the 1000 Guineas field on Sunday, prompting high praise from trainer Dermot Weld, while Native Trail made up for Newmarket disappointment with a smooth 2000 Guineas triumph on Saturday for Charlie Appleby and Godolphin.

Here's our look back on the weekend's action on the turf.

Weld's Songs hits the high notes

Homeless Songs certainly lived up to her breeding with a stunning success in Sunday's Tattersalls Irish 1000 Guineas for trainer Dermot Weld, Moyglare Stud and rider Chris Hayes.

The Frankel filly cruised away from her rivals to win by five-and-a-half lengths at the Curragh handing Weld fifth career win in the race and a landmark 20th Irish Classic for the Master of Rosewell House.

It hasn't been a great start to the season for Weld – he had one winner in March, one in April and – before Sunday – just one in May – but a lot of those ills were cured with Homeless Songs' demolition job.

Her victory earned a quote of 6/4 for Homeless Songs in next month's Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot, with John and Thady Gosden's Inspiral now rated 11/4 for the 17th June Group 1 Fillies' contest. You can follow the action via our Sports Live Streaming platform.

Weld was both impressed and pleasantly surprise by the manner of victory and says Royal Ascot now must in the pipeline, all being well.

"She is a very special filly. I have won this race with a number of good fillies and she rates right up there," said the veteran handler.

"My main concern coming in here was whether she could carry that speed over a mile, but she relaxed beautifully for Chris and he gave her the most perfect ride. We'll see how she comes out of this race, but the Coronation Stakes would have to be a definite possibility."

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Appleby charge back on winning Trail

Charlie Appleby finds himself with a unique bit of pondering to do after Native Trail won the Tattersalls Irish 2000 Guineas on Saturday.

Denied at Newmarket earlier in the month by stablemate Coroebus in the English version, the hitherto unbeaten Native Trail came good once more for William Buick at the Curragh to run down 40/1 shot New Energy in a merited success.

Next month's St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot could see the Appleby pair meeting again, with Coroebus currently at the price of 4/6 for the 14th June contest and Native Trail 7/2.

Appleby felt Native Trail had plenty in hand and he was delighted to make a bit of racing history at the Curragh to boot.

The win deliverer an unprecedented clean sweep of the English, French and Irish 2000 Guineas with three different colts for the trainer and owners Godolphin.

With Poule d'Essai Des Poulains scorer Modern Games trading at 6/1 for the St James' Palace, Appleby admits there is some thinking to be done, but he knows it could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity come Royal Ascot to let the trio fight it out.

"I knew coming into [this race] what we were trying to achieve and this horse has done it," he said of the Guineas clean sweep.

"There are discussions to be had about the St James's Palace. It is the last race where three-year-olds can take each other on at that level over a mile. You always like to see the best take each other on whatever the sport and you never know."

Tatts glory for Alenquer and Marquand

The Tattersalls Gold Cup went the way of Alenquer as Tom Marquand marked his first ever visit to the Curragh with a Group 1 success for trainer William Haggas.

Last season's King Edward VII winner was sent of third-favourite despite having beaten market leader Lord North in the Winter Derby at Lingfield when they last met.

It was Ryan Moore and High Definition that set a frantic pace, the jockey keen to try and draw the sting from his rivals, but Alenquer was a willing partner for Marquand after coming under pressure two-furlongs out and his gutsy finish was enough to hold off High Definition and State Of Rest – the pair representing Aidan and Joseph O'Brien respectively – with Lord North only fourth for Frankie Dettori and the Gosdens.

Alenquer is now quoted at 6/1 for the Prince of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot next month after his Group 1 breakthrough.

Post-race Marquand suggested 'an hour ago I didn't even know my way down to the start', but he and Alenquer certainly knew where the Curragh finishing post was located.

"It was great to get this lad in a scrap at the two pole, because there was only one way he was going to come out," said the rider.

"Sometimes at home it's a bit of a pain that he loves a fight because he thinks it's all a game, but when he gets on the track he takes it seriously. He's got some amount of ability, and the attitude to match, which is why he is winning a Group 1."

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