Irish 2000 Guineas & Gold Cup Review
The past weekend offered a couple of Irish Classic races at the Curragh Racecourse. On Saturday, three-year-old colts lined up for the Irish 2000 Guineas, where Native Trail didn’t allow an upset and recorded his third G1 win. On Sunday, Homeless Songs powered home in the Irish 1000 Guineas, leaving behind preferred Tuesday by more than five lengths. Four-year-old Alenquer then secured his premiere G1 victory in the Tattersall Gold Cup, bettering both favourites and also High Definition, who ran a blinder in second.
Irish 2000 Guineas
The first Classic race of the Irish Flat season saw the triumph of a favourite as Native Trail (2-5) scored the G1 turf race by one and ¾ of a length, earning most of the purse of €500,000. In the field of nine three-year-old colts, Native Trail didn’t have the best start in this mile-long event and had to settle in fifth place at the fence.
Under William Buick, the son of Oasis Dream, ran into some room shortage in the final stretch, but once he made himself enough space to rally, he bolted powerfully forward, and in the end, his victory was decisive in 1m 39.28s. Native Trail was most closely followed home by a couple of outsiders as New Energy (40-1) cruised home in second with Imperial Fighter (28-1) ran in third.
The handsome bay became the Champion Juvenile in Europe in 2021 as he remained unbeaten in four starts. Native Trail then commenced the new season with a win in a trial, upon which he ran bravely in defeat in the British 2000 Guineas when bettered by his stable-mate Coroebus.
Godolphin and trainer Charlie Appleby achieved another Classic victory with Modern Games in France, and therefore, Native Trail completed a unique Classic hattrick for them on Saturday. By no means, the winner delivered a great performance as he seemed in trouble for a while when having nowhere to go, but he didn’t allow himself to be discourage by this, showing the attitude of a real fighter here.
Colts following him home are also worth attention. They denied the odds, especially the New Energy trained by Ms Sheila Lavery, who couldn’t win even at the Listed scene. This time, he ran a big race from the rear of the field, while third Imperial Fighter displayed a fine turn of foot as well, unlike the anticipated contestants – Buckaroo (3-1) and Ivy League (18-1) who couldn’t get past sixth and seventh place, respectively.
Tattersalls Gold Cup
Four-year-old and older horses clashed in this G1 turf race held at the distance of a mile and two and a half furlongs. The purse of €400,000 attracted eight participants. The race itself ended in a tight finish of four brilliant horses from whom Alenquer (7-2) prevailed by a neck.
The four-year-old colt trained by William Haggas galloped in third and willingly came forward in the final stretch, closing on leading High Definition (20-1), and in the end, he managed to score in 2m 11.44s. Behind the mentioned duo, State of Rest (2-1) had to settle for third place.
In 2021, Alenquer showed lots of talent as he bagged the G3 and G2 wins and placed among the elite. Although he didn’t draw on his seasonal debut (when he won a Listed) in the G1 Dubai Sheema Classic, he wasn’t far away from the winner and thus was considered a lively chance in the Tattersalls Gold Cup, which he proved to be justified.
Alenquer is only a four-year-old, so some further progress was simply expected of him, and therefore, his Sunday success could be just one of several at the G1 scene. Surprisingly, four-year-old High Definition was the other contestant vying for the victory here. Under Ryan Moore; the Aidan O’Brien bound colt travelled sweetly at the front. He gave everything out in the final stretch, finally reminding of the Epsom Derby contender he once was, and even though he failed to deliver an upset, his performance was quite promising for the future.
State of Rest, the multiple G1 winner, didn’t show such a turn-of-foot to actually challenge the first duo, but he came in time to secure at least the third place.
Indeed, his effort was a tad disappointing, which is also the case of Lord North (2-1), the joint-favourite who looked ready to threaten the leader but weakened right after. The six-year-old gelding finished fourth in front of the fifth Broome (11-1).
Irish 1000 Guineas
Fourteen three-year-old fillies vied for the Classic glory in this mile-long G1 race, offering the purse of €500,000. On the turf surface, Aidan O’Brien’s Tuesday (11-4) was the leading chance that was prominent from the beginning; however, nothing and nobody could have stopped Homeless Songs (11-2) from bagging the race in an impressive fashion.
The Dermot Weld bound bay was literally flying on the outside, passing easily by all of her rivals and extending her lead to 5 and ½ lengths. Crossing the wire in 1m 38.81s, she left favourite Tuesday behind in second, with Concert Hall (15-2) securing third place.
Homeless Songs entered the Irish 1000 Guineas pictured only in April when she showed such a turn-of-foot in the closing stages of a Classic trial that it caught the eye of many. Still, she was about to face a G1 placed filly Tuesday on Sunday, so there were slight doubts about Homeless Songs being ready for the challenge.
Indeed, she was, as after travelling in the midpack, she bolted forward with ease and didn’t give the rest of the field chance, galloping with Chris Hayes aboard towards her premiere win among the elite. Tuesday also ran a good race in second as she fought bravely throughout the final stretch and managed to hold off third Concert Hall together with fourth Star Girls Aalmal (9-1) and fifth Agartha (9-1).
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