We preview the Irish 1000 and Irish 2000 Guineas at The Curragh
There’s more classic action to whet the appetite this weekend with Friday’s Irish 2000 Guineas and Saturday’s Irish 1000 Guineas taking place at The Curragh.
Siskin and Albigna are the big fancies in either race, which means unusually for a contest of this type, Ballydoyle supremo Aidan O’Brien saddles neither of the favourites.
That didn’t stop him in Newmarket’s 1000 Guineas, though, and as the top trainer in both Irish renewals with 19 wins combined, he’ll be confident of his hand this weekend.
Irish 2000 Guineas – 18:40, Fri 12th June
Siskin is the one they all have to beat. The Ger Lyons-trained colt finished his two-year-old career with four wins from four, including a couple of nice successes in both the Railway Stakes and the Phoenix Stakes.
Victory in the latter makes him the only Group 1 winner in the field, although there are questions over the quality of runner-up Monarch of Egypt, while failure to load in the Middle Park also blots his copybook.
Connections remain upbeat, however, although a lot could depend on his ability to stay over the 1m distance.
Similar cannot be said of Armory, who looks certain to manage the trip as a son of Galileo. He won a hat-trick of contests last season, including the Group 2 Futurity Stakes, before hitting the frame in three Group 1 races.
He finished behind Pinatubo and Alson in a couple of those, and with both horses subsequently coming out and placing in the French and English equivalents of the 2000 Guineas, that form is hard to knock.
We know what we’re getting with Armory, then. The same cannot be said of Vatican City, who after finishing well down the field on debut, then stretched out at Dundalk to claim a 7f Maiden in quite impressive style.
The brother of 2000 Guineas and Irish 2000 Guineas winner Gleneagles has been punted in from around 20/1 at the start of last month, and with the O’Brien second string often dangerous, he could be one to watch.
Royal Lytham also warrants further attention after landing the July Stakes and finishing a close-third to favourite Siskin in the Phoenix Stakes. He should be suited by the step up to a mile at The Curragh.
Other O’Brien hopefuls Fort Myers, Monarch Of Egypt and Lope Y Fernandez all seemingly lack the credentials for this. The latter holds the best hope of the trio but disappointed up against the very best last term.
Of the rest, Sinawann looks an interesting type for Michael Halford after chasing home the highly-thought of Mogul in a Group 2 over the distance last season. He’s unexposed and should have plenty in the tank for this.
Fiscal Rules was a head behind Wichita on debut, and while the winner went on to finish runner-up in the Guineas at Newmarket last week, the rest behind that day have failed to offer any boost to the form.
Irish 1000 Guineas – 19:15, Sat 13th June
Jessica Harrington last won the Irish 1000 Guineas in 2018 with Alpha Centauri. She looks to have a live chance again with Albigna, who dotted up in the Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac over the 1m distance in October.
A subsequent fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies’ Turf can be excused, and back at a more galloping track like The Curragh, it’s easy to see why this daughter of Zoffany is the market leader with our traders.
Her main competition could come from the same stable, with Alpine Star – a half-sister to Alpha Centauri – ending last season with a taking success in the Group 2 Debutante Stakes ahead of Love, who finished fifth.
That’s some noteworthy form based on Love’s success at Newmarket last week, and if Alpine Star can handle the step up to 1m in a similar fashion, then she could prove to be a more enticing prospect than the favourite.
Then comes an attack of blue and orange, although not all in the name of Aidan O’Brien. Son Donnacha is in his first season as a trainer and would love to get an early classic on the board with unbeaten Fancy Blue.
The double-figure shot is likely more suited to a longer trip, while you also have to wonder whether Aidan would have allowed a classic prospect to leave his yard if he thought it had any real chance in the race.
Peaceful and So Wonderful are the main hopes for the head of the family, with the latter going close in a whole host of Group contests last season without managing to enter the winner’s enclosure.
Her 1½l second to Love in the Moyglare looks a standout bit of form, although with nine of the last 12 winners having won at least once in Group company prior to having a crack at this, there’s reason to be sceptical.
Stablemate Peaceful twice stayed well in difficult conditions last season to give the suggestion she should enjoy this trip, with her runner-up berth in a Listed behind Born With Pride looking the more solid run.
The winner that day remains of interest in the Oaks, while third-place Run Wild came out and won in a decent race at Newmarket last week. Those are decent form lines which should increase her chances here.
There’s then a break in the market to the rest of the contenders, including New York Girl for Joseph O’Brien, who should relish the mile on offer here after triumphing over 7f in testing conditions when last seen.
Elsewhere, Soul Search snatched a place in both the Debutate and the Moyglare, while Even So, Ridenza, Katiba and Roca Roma are all lightly raced and need to step forward, but are open to further progression.
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication.