Get our Irish 2000 Guineas tips as we preview the first of the Irish Classics at the Curragh on Friday.
Hot on the heels of the first of the British Classics with the 1000 Guineas and 2000 Guineas unfolding at Newmarket, the Irish equivalents go to post this weekend starting with the colts’ Classic in the shape of the Irish 2000 Guineas at the Curragh.
The Covid-19 situation has certainly stacked up the big races and ordinarily the Irish Guineas weekend would fall three weeks on from the Newmarket Classics; and with Royal Ascot now just around the corner there is plenty of top-class horse racing action still to come.
The 2020 Irish 2000 Guineas has attracted a strong field of entries with a possible eleven runners entering the stalls, each vying to land the €142,000 first prize and the action will unfold as part of the ITV Racing schedule for Saturday.
We’ve looked over the field of big-race runners and picked out our best bet for success with our Irish 2000 Guineas tips where the Curragh feature gets underway at 6.40pm.
IRISH 2000 GUINEAS TIPS – Runner-by-runner
Aidan O’Brien has saddled eleven winners of this Irish Classic, the most recent coming with Churchill in 2017 and the Ballydoyle maestro accounts for six runners in the latest renewal where the Galileo colt looks his strongest chance of landing another win.
A three-time winner last term which included a Group Two over seven furlongs here, he has since finished in the frame behind the likes of Pinatubo and Victor Ludorum. The latter came when stepped up to one mile for the first time in the Prix Jean-luc Lagardere where he crossed the line in a close third and less than one length adrift.
Heavy ground possibly caught him out when last seen taking on a match with Alson in the Criterium International at Longchamp, but he can be forgiven that run and back on a less testing surface he could prove a different proposition where he promises to be suited by the return to one mile.
He’s not easy to dismiss and he should be in the shake-up.
Looked steadily progressive last term, winning on his debut at Dundalk, but has been beaten behind the likes of Arizona, Siskin and Lope Y Fernandez prior to getting back on the scoresheet in a Listed contest back on the all-weather.
The son of War Front ran better than the bare result when crossing the line in seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, beaten around three lengths behind Structor but he looks up against it here where he has a bit to find with a couple of these on last season’s juvenile form.
Of course he may progress from last season, but he’s so far winless on turf and he’ll need to find a decent chunk of improvement to feature here where he could help to force the pace.
LOPE Y FERNANDEZ
Dual-winner as a juvenile including the Group Three Round Tower Stakes over six furlongs at this venue having also struck over seven furlongs here on debut.
In between those victories he twice came off worst behind Pinatubo in starts at Ascot and Goodwood, and he proved no match for Earthlight on his final start in the Middle Park Stakes. He might have been unsuited by the track however at Flat HQ and he is 2-2 at the Curragh so has to command some respect on that front.
He’s untried also over this one mile trip so he has to prove his stamina although his breeding suggests he should see out the distance. Nevertheless, while he can post a solid run as part of the Ballydoyle contingent he looks to have a bit to do on the books with a couple of these rivals.
MONARCH OF EGYPT
Twice beaten by Siskin last term before failing to beat a rival at Newmarket behind Earthlight in the Middle Park Stakes.
The American Pharoah colt returned to Newmarket to contest the Dewhurst where he appeared not to get home when crossing the line in fifth behind Pinatubo and his stamina has to again be of concern over this longer trip.
Better ground could see him in a different light, but on form he has a bit to find with Siskin as well as prove he gets this far.
Dual-winner last term including success in the Group Two July Stakes prior to finishing third behind Siskin in the Phoenix Stakes where he crossed the line only one length adrift.
The Gleneagles colt was possibly not altogether suited by the softer ground there and he had to make his own running which wasn’t an ideal scenario for him. He showed plenty of tenacity once headed though and shaped as if this one mile trip might well bring about improvement.
A better surface could also help and while he has a little bit to do to topple Siskin who appeared to win readily on that occasion he remains open to improvement and could have a big say with first-time blinkers now applied.
He looks to hold a decent chance and he’s the strongest of our each-way Irish 2000 Guineas tips to make the frame at what could be fair odds for the Ballydoyle inmate.
The last of the O’Brien sextet, the Galileo colt looked in need of the experience on his first outing last term but he duly showed the benefit of the run to score readily over a useful sort at Dundalk in October.
That runner-up has since franked the form although it falls someway short of this level, although it is noteworthy that O’Brien pitches him into Group One company on his reappearance. He’s very much a dark horse to consider given his obvious potential to improve further; but bookmakers have perhaps taken an overly cautious approach to his chances.
It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him pitching in at the business end with improvement forthcoming and while he might lack the form in the book of a few of these he can play a big part.
Took his record to a perfect 4-4 when winning the Phoenix Stakes at this track in August, giving trainer Ger Lyons a first Group One win in the process.
Well fancied for the Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket on his next start, the First Defence colt boiled over in the stalls, forcing his withdrawal from the race which was eventually won by Earthlight. He seeks redemption here although he’s yet to try one mile and he has stamina to prove over the extra distance.
Arguably the star name of the contest, he has looked a top-class prospect in all four juvenile wins and there could be even better to come from him. His last win came despite not looking entirely at ease in the softer ground and a better surface here will suit him well at a venue where he is 3-3 in his starts.
Breeding suggests he’ll see out the one mile and he remains the one to beat on his juvenile form; but he’s plenty short enough in the betting for one with stamina to prove and with his temperament having found him out last time there has to be a slight concern he may boil over again.
Seemed to know his job and found only Wichita too strong on his debut here in August, only run down late by the winner but showing a good attitude to battle on to the line once headed.
Jim Bolger’s Make Believe colt is likely have learned plenty from that experience and could have more to offer this campaign; but this is a tough ask on just his second career start being thrust into a Classic.
He can progress on the back of that very promising debut, but the exploits of the winners aside the form is nothing special and he has plenty to do against this crop of rivals to feature.
Jessica Harrington’s runners can do little wrong at present and the Showcasing colt stepped up from a highly encouraging debut third to get off the mark at the second attempt with a defeat of Cabot Hills over this trip at Leopardstown in July.
He looked a really nice prospect that day and that form too a boost with the fourth horse home going on to win twice subsequently which included a Group Three at Leopardstown earlier in the week.
His absence since is a slight worry but he is another open to plenty of improvement and the yard’s runners since the restart have been well forward and in good form so for all he probably has a bit more to do he’s not one to readily dismiss from posting a bold showing.
Navan winner last term who posted some creditable efforts in defeat when upped to pattern class, including finishing runner-up to Armory in the Futurity Stakes here in August and he was last seen finishing third behind Mogul in the Champion Juvenile Stakes at Leopardstown over this trip.
The Tale Of The Cat colt was probably flattered by his proximity to the winner on both those occasions and on official ratings he has plenty to find on the balance of his form to date.
He’ll give connections a good spin and he’s bred to improve for this distance so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him running well although he’s likely to find a few too good for him at the business end.
Built on his promising debut to strike over course and distance in August, beating Agitare by one length, and the Kingman colt found another jolt of improvement to finish runner-up when tried against Mogul in the Champion Juvenile at Leopardstown where he finished ahead of the reopposing Rebel Tale.
Mick Halford’s charge looks a decent sort who’s likely to come on well this term and he should give a good account of himself on his reappearance although he might well prove suited by more of a test of stamina given his breeding.
Others might just have too much speed for him at the business end, but there’s no doubting his stamina to see out the trip and if the race develops into a stamina test then he could sneak into the frame.
IRISH 2000 GUINEAS TIPS – BIG-RACE VERDICT
Siskin blotted his copybook when boiling over in the stalls in the Middle Park Stakes but had been a perfect 4-4 prior to that incident and Ger Lyons’ charge rates the one to beat on juvenile form. However he tries one mile for the first time and while breeding suggests he’ll stay the trip he may just find ARMORY too strong at the business end and the Galileo colt can end the unbeaten run of Lyons’ star.
One of six in the race for trainer Aidan O’Brien, the selection won a trio of starts last term which included the Group Two Irish Futurity Stakes and he lost no caste in defeats behind Pinatubo and Victor Ludorum respectively; the latter coming over this trip at Longchamp.
Forgiven his last effort on heavy ground it wouldn’t come as a surprise to see him fare better returned to a quicker surface – debatable whether he wants it this quick though – and there could be plenty of improvement to come from him back over one mile given his breeding.
He has 4lbs to make up with Ger Lyons’ star on official ratings, but he’s more assured to stay this longer trip and that may just swing the balance of power his way at the business end. Meanwhile stablemate Royal Lytham could be improved by first-time blinkers and the step up in trip where he can land our 2000 Guineas tips each-way money.