With the first two British Classics ticked off for this season, it is the Irish’s turn to kick off their renewals as they start with the 2,000 Guineas at the Curragh on Saturday.
Twelve runners have been declared in the first Classic of the Irish flat season, with a colt from Jessica Harrington’s yard heading the betting.
LUCKY VEGA (15/8) ran a cracker in the British 2000 Guineas, finishing third and only a half-length behind the winner.
There were questions of the three-year-old’s stamina over a mile, but he put those doubts to bed at Newmarket with a promising effort in top-level company.
The son of Lope De Vega does have Group 1 experience at the Curragh, as he thundered home to win over six furlongs in the Phoenix Stakes as a two-year-old.
He rightfully holds claims for this contest, but he must get past POETIC FLARE (9/2) who finished in front of him in the British renewal of this race.
Jim Bolger’s star stunned the field at Newmarket three weeks ago, hanging out to claim success in the Group 1 contest.
He failed to justify favouritism in the French 2,000 Guineas last weekend, finishing sixth after he struggled to produce a challenge in the final two furlongs.
He is joined by stablemate MAC SWINEY (10/1), who is yet to follow up his Group 1 Futurity Trophy Stakes victory from last season.
WEMBLEY (9/2) will be aiming for redemption after a disappointing run at Newmarket and he could benefit from his previous experience here.
The son of Galileo finished second in the National Stakes over seven furlongs at the course as a two-year-old and he could show improvement here.
Aidan O’Brien’s colt is highly regarded by his connections and he may well prefer the softer ground on this occasion.
Stablemates BATTLEGROUND (7/1) and VAN GOGH (10/1) join him, with both looking to put their poor efforts in the 2000 Guineas behind them.
LA BARROSA (13/2) will need to show versatility with the softer conditions for Charlie Appleby, while Kevin Prendergast’s MONAASIB (14/1) could prove to be each-way value after finishing three-quarters of a length behind High Definition in the Beresford Stakes back in September.
AGRIMONY (33/1) faces an incredibly tough first assignment in Group 1 company for Joseph Murphy, while Hugo Palmer will be hoping for further improvement from THE ROSSTAFARIAN (33/1)
Donnacha O’Brien’s EMPORIO (50/1) and Andrew Slattery’s REBEL STEP (66/1) complete the field of twelve runners.
A wide-open affair of the Irish 2000 Guineas lies in wait at the Curragh on the weekend.
– Wembley @ 9/2
– Monaasib E/W @ 14/1