There’s Classic action from the green fields of Ireland this weekend with the Irish 2,000 Guineas taking pride of place at The Curragh on Saturday, when the Aidan O’Brien powerhouse is represented by Paddington, Cairo and Age Of Kings, and the best of British are Newmarket 2,000 Guineas two-three Hi Royal and Royal Scotsman. The supporting feature is the G2 Greenlands, with sprinters Garrus, Moss Tucker and Twilight Jet expected to be major players.
G2, 120,000 euro, 6f turf, 4yo+, 9.30am ET
Good recent form is thin on the ground in the Greenlands, not a strong race for G2 standard but wide-open as a result and an intriguing puzzle for bettors.
The sole last-time-out winner is Garrus, the old man of the party, who produced a career-best when a handy winner of the G3 Abernant over six furlongs at Newmarket last month, the official margin of a head being no indication of his superiority given he got the job done under a hand-ride.
The runner-up was subsequently third in a better race – a length and a quarter behind last year’s sprint sensation Highfield Princess – and this is the right place for Garrus, whose recent record has been spotted by several defeats at G1 level.
Striking while the iron is hot could apply to Moss Tucker, who comes back off just a six-day turnaround (not unknown by European standards) after being done for pure speed when runner-up in a five-furlong stakes at Naas, rallying after the winner had flown with Big Gossey seventh, four and a quarter lengths further back.
On his previous start Moss Tucker had run the finish out of the classy Tenebrism when making just about all in another five-furlong Naas stakes, with the no-kick Coachello two lengths back in third and Big Gossey a half-length further away in fourth, and is likely to be a pace angle with the extra yardage suiting him just as well.
It’s been a long time since we’ve seen Twilight Jet, and even longer since we saw his talent. He won a G3 at this distance at Naas just over a year ago, but finished plumb last in two G1s after that and his season ended in July. At his best he would be a player but caution may be wise after such a long layoff.
The inconsistent Art Power shouldn’t be harshly judged on his recent poor effort at G2 level, when he led before dropping right out on his first start since being gelded. He has won two G3s over course and distance – Ano Syra fourth, beaten seven and three-quarter lengths, in the most recent of those – and at his peak was a G1 horse, so although he seems regressive this test could perk him up.
The filly My Eyes Adore You is one-for-12 lifetime – a maiden over course and distance – and has a mountain to climb in open company.
Greenlands Stakes Betting Pick
It’s a swift turnaround for course-and-distance winner MOSS TUCKER, but he is in sharp order and his front-running tactics could be crucial against largely out-of-form rivals.
|Horse||Jockey||Odds by Jazzsports|
|Art Power||Oisin Murphy||+200|
|Big Gossey||Danny Sheehy||+2500|
|Moss Tucker||W J Lee||+500|
|Twilight Jet||Colin Keane||+450|
|Ano Syra||Ben Coen||+1400|
|My Eyes Adore You||Andrew Slattery||+2500|
Irish 2000 Guineas
G1, 500,000 euro, 1m turf, 3yo, 10.40am ET
The field for the Irish 2,000 Guineas, the marquee event at The Curragh on Saturday afternoon, falls neatly into two halves – horses running under the Coolmore ownership banner and those coming on from the British 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket three weeks ago, with plenty of strength in both camps.
Aidan O’Brien has won this Classic a record 11 times (but not since 2017) and puts three in the gate, his main chance resting with the progressive Paddington (5-1), who is pitching for a four-timer after making his stakes breakthrough over course and distance. He was dominant and impressive, with Bold Discovery (40-1) weak at the finish when fifth, beaten eight lengths, and should be capable of better.
All his winning form has come on soft turf, though, and conditions will be much faster here. His barnmate Cairo (12-1) was briefly on the Kentucky Derby trail until tumbling off it with a poor display in the G2 UAE Derby at Meydan, when he was favourite but appeared to hate the synthetic track.
He could well be a different proposition back on the lawn – he won a G3 at Leopardstown in October with Bold Discovery third – and O’Brien has a long history of winning big races with second- and third-strings. That brings in Age Of Kings (25-1), although he has a triple disadvantage in that he has never tried a mile, is zero-for-three in stakes, and has a ten-month layoff to overcome.
The final Coolmore runner is Proud And Regal (13-2), trained by O’Brien’s son Donnacha, who appeared not to see out the ten furlongs when a fading third in the G3 Derby Trial at Leopardstown three weeks ago. He won a G1 over a mile in deep mud at Saint-Cloud in October but doesn’t seem ground-dependent, and he should appreciate the cutback.
The contingent from the British 2,000 Guineas, run on soft ground, features the two-three-four from Newmarket, led by 125-1 runner-up and stakes debutant Hi Royal (9-2), who hung badly left in the closing stages but was beaten only a length and three-quarters at the line. He was a half-length ahead of Royal Scotsman (9-4), who ran rank early but finished off his race very well and was in turn two and three-quarter lengths clear of 150-1 poke Galeron (12-1) in fourth, with fellow longshot Charyn (20-1) a well-beaten eighth.
Of that quartet, Royal Scotsman is much the most interesting, as the other three had a warm-up race under their belts, and he was supplemented for this at a cost of 50,000 euro after a sizzling workout. Last year he was beaten just a head in the G1 Dewhurst over seven furlongs, the premier event in Britain for two-year-old colts, and the faster conditions here will suit.
Hi Royal and Galeron should not be dismissed, but when a horse runs a cracker at boxcar odds it often fails to repeat the dose, the performance being a one-off rather than a true representation of ability. The mile maiden winner Quar Shamar (25-1) should move up but this is a huge class hike.
Irish 2,000 Guineas Betting Prediction
The supplemented ROYAL SCOTSMAN will be spot-on after an excellent seasonal debut and he can flip Newmarket form with Hi Royal on this more suitable ground.
|Horse||Jockey||Odds by Jazzsports|
|Royal Scotsman||Jamie Spencer||+225|
|Hi Royal||Oisin Murphy||+450|
|Proud And Regal||Gavin Ryan||+650|
|Age of Kings||Seamie||+2500|
|Quar Shamar||Shane Foley||+2500|
|Bold Discovery||W J Lee||+4000|
|Alexander John||Nathan Crosse||+40000|
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