Aidan O’Brien bids for an amazing Double Double at the Curragh this weekend as both Magna Grecia and Hermosa aim to add the Irish Guineas to the English equivalent at the Curragh. John Gosden’s two-year-old star Too Darn Hot takes on Magna Grecia in the Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas on Saturday, with Hermosa facing nine rivals including the Roger Varian-trained Qabala.
Some 14 horses go to post for the big race on day one of the meeting that sees the official opening of the new-look Curragh course. Here are the contenders:
MAGNA GRECIA (Trainer: Aidan O’Brien, Jockey: Ryan Moore) 6-4: Some question marks over 2,000 Guineas win due to favourable ground up rail but a worthy favourite.
TOO DARN HOT (pictured; T: John Gosden, J: Frankie Dettori) 7-4: Disappointed in the Dante, but a mile could well prove his best distance and needed that run.
SKARDU (T: William Haggas, J: James Doyle) 7-1: Got closest of those who ran up the middle in English 2,000 Guineas and could not be discounted on that basis; impressive Craven winner.
PHOENIX OF SPAIN (T: Charlie Hills, J: Jamie Spencer) 18-1: On his last two runs he was beaten by a single horse each time – once Magna Grecia and once Too Darn Hot. Solid form.
DECRYPT (T: Paddy Twomey, J: Billy Lee) 22-1: Good winner at Cork last time but this is a big step up. Has obvious talent.
MOHAWK (T: Aidan O’Brien, J: Donnacha O’Brien) 28-1: Decent run in the rain at Chester, but on better ground and a shorter trip this will suit more. Good place claims.
SHELIR (T: Dermot Weld, J: Chris Hayes) 33-1: Unbeaten in two starts and market may show how much room for improvement there is.
I AM SUPERMAN (T: Michael O’Callaghan, J: Leigh Roche) 125-1: Looks held by Shelir on Naas run but worthy of his place.
OLD GLORY (T: Aidan O’Brien, J: Wayne Lordan) 125-1: Trainer to be respected and another where market may hint at improvement in long lay-off.
VAN BEETHOVEN (T: Aidan O’Brien, J: Seamie Heffernan) 150-1: As experienced as any of them, but well beaten by Too Darn Hot at Doncaster last year.
ERMARAATY ANA (T: Kevin Ryan, J: Andrea Atzeni) 150-1: A long way behind Magna Grecia at Newmarket.
GUARANTEED (T: Jim Bolger, J: Kevin Manning) 150-1: Not disgraced in recent Derby trial and has mixed it with some good types but not quite the class to win this.
HILLWALKER (T: Tom Cleary, J: Rory Cleary) 250-1: Great story for the Clearys but owners are Dream Big Syndicate – that says it all about competing at this level.
GLOBE THEATRE (T: Aidan O’Brien, J: Padraig Beggy) 250-1: Still a maiden and hard to see a big jump up to contend here.