Aidan O’Brien is going all out to win the G1 Irish 2000 Guineas (1600m) this Saturday. The Ballydoyle trainer is responsible for 7 of the 15 nominations.
There’s no standout among the entries, unlike the English 2000 Guineas where Camelot was a short-priced favourite for the Newmarket classic. O’Brien is aiming Camelot for next month’s English Derby at Epsom Downs and that leaves an opening for his stablemates at the Curragh.
NEPHRITE (Pivotal) needs to bounce back after suffering an odds-on reverse on his seasonal reappearance in the Loughbrown Stakes at the Curragh on April 22. He had signed off an unbeaten juvenile campaign in the G3 Killavullan Stakes at Leopardstown in October.
POWER (Oasis Dream) won four of his six starts at two including the G1 National Stakes at the Curragh before finishing a half-length second to Parish Hall in the G1 Dewhurst Stakes. He never threatened first-up behind Camelot at Newmarket.
DADDY LONG LEGS (Scat Daddy) won at G2 level at Gowran Park and Newmarket last year before resuming this term for another G2 victory in the UAE Derby at Meydan. His immediate future is under a cloud after being pulled up in the Kentucky Derby won by I’ll Have Another.
CRUSADE (Mr Greeley) won the G1 Middle Park Stakes last October but then finished midfield behind Hansen in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs.
REPLY (Oasis Dream) struck pay-dirt in the Weatherbys 2YO Stakes at Doncaster in September and then backed up for a close third to Crusade and Lilbourne Lad in the Middle Park.
VAULT (Danehill Dancer) won at the Curragh and Galway in seven juvenile starts but he was tailed off behind Lucayen in the French 2000 Guineas at Longchamp on May 13.
WROTE (High Chaparral) won at Cork and Galway before progressing well enough to claim the G1 Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf at Churchill Downs in November. He has been G2 placed at Meydan and Leopardstown at his last two starts.
O’Brien has won the Irish 2000 Guineas seven times – Desert King (1997), Saffron Walden (1999), Black Minnaloushe (2001), Rock of Gibraltar (2002), Henrythenavigator (2008), Mastercraftsman (2009) and Roderic O’Connor (2011).
The pre-post favourite is Hermival (Dubawi) who was third in the English equivalent at Newmarket. He represents French trainer Mikel Delzangles who won the 2010 English 2000 Guineas with Dubawi colt Makfi and the 2011 Melbourne Cup with Duneden.
Irish 2000 Guineas betting:
$6 Hermival $6.50 Parish Hall $7 Takar, Power, Trumpet Major $10 Born To Sea, Crusade, Nephrite $13 Daddy Long Leg, Reply $21 Wrote $26 Speaking Of Which $51 Alkazim, Foxtrot Romeo, Vault.