The declarations for this year’s Irish 2000 Guineas are in and we’re all set for Galileo Gold v Air Force Blue Part II this Saturday.
Trainer Hugo Palmer has already fired warning shots to his rivals by claiming that the former could be even better than when winning the British equivalent at Newmarket.
Bookmakers are certainly in agreement with Galileo Gold the 6/4 favourite to secure an historic double.
Palmer told the Racing Post: “All the signs are he’s actually improved for his run at Newmarket. I’m very happy with him. The Curragh has been a happy hunting ground for me and I hope it will be again.”
Palmer’s first Classic victory came at the track in last year’s Irish Oaks and given his charge’s recent form more big-race success looks forthcoming.
As we’ve already seen this season, anything is possible in the hands of evergreen jockey and Ladbrokes racing ambassador, Frankie Dettori.
Will the real Air Force Blue show up?
Even Aidan O’Brien struggled to find an excuse for why Air Force Blue, the 4/5 favourite for the Guineas, flopped so badly at HQ.
However, despite that set-back the Ballydoyle team seem unperturbed by the fact that AFB only managed to beat one other at Newmarket with O’Brien quoted as being “happy with him so far” since that poor run.
There’s no doubting the 5/2 shot’s raw talent and pedigree.
Air Force Blue was the rightful 2,000 Guineas jolly having landed three Group 1 contests as a two-year-old.
It’s also worth noting that three of his four career wins have come at the Curragh and he can only improve from his most recent showing.
Progressive Awtaad another to keep an eye on
Kevin Prendergast’s recent Tetrach Stakes winner Awtaad has been described by jockey Chris Hayes in pretty glowing terms, or more specifically, “as good as anything I’ve sat on.”
That’s not unsurprising given the fact that the son of Cape Cross will be bidding to complete an impressive four-timer this weekend.
Re-opposing rival Blue De Vega was two lengths behind Awtaad last time out while O’Brien entrant Bravery has also been seen off by the 11/2 chance.
Meanwhile, Air Vice Marshal, Sanus Per Aquam and Shogun make up the rest of the field.
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All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing