We turn our attention to action in Ireland, where red-hot favourite Native Trail will face eight rivals in the Irish 2000 Guineas at the Curragh.
Irish 2000 Guineas
Charlie Appleby’s star two-year-old of last season is as short as 4/11 favourite with some firms to go one better in the Irish equivalent this Saturday after being turned over by stablemate Coroebus in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket last time.
Surprisingly, the Irish version hasn’t been won by Godolphin since Dubawi struck in 2005 for the boys in blue but the betting for this year’s renewal suggests that could be about to change this weekend.
A winner of his first five starts, including at the highest level in the Group 1 National here last autumn, he lost nothing in defeat when beaten less than a length by his stablemate three weeks ago.
With a similar profile to Kingman, who was second at Newmarket before easily going one better here, William Buick’s mount should prove very hard to beat here. His price reflects his chances as he bids to provide his trainer with a Guineas treble, who’s already mopped up the English and French version in recent weeks.
He has been dealt with a kind draw in stall one which can only complement his credentials and with very few faults in his armour, if any, then it will take a heroic effort from something else in the field to conquer the son of Oasis Dream.
At the odds though, he’s not my cup of tea, even while realising that he’s probably going to win this in a procession if he runs to anything near his high rating of 121. Second-favourite Buckaroo, who’s trained by Joseph O’Brien, is a general 9/2 shot (best price 5/1) in the betting after his Tetrarch Stakes success over course and distance at the start of the month.
He could give the favourite most to think about but I think his price looks a little skinny and he’s overlooked this weekend. Aidan O’Brien (pictured with the 1000 Guineas trophy in 2021) has just the one entry in the form of Ivy League, the mount of Ryan Moore who’s available at a best price 14/1 (worst 11/1), but I’m not convinced he’s even good enough to place let alone beat Native Trail and is only rated 107.
If you do like the latter though, then surely Malex has to come into consideration at huge odds of 50/1. Yes he has a bit to find with Buckaroo but was impressive on debut here in March in which he had Ivy League back in sixth.
He’s only rated 98 which does mean he needs so much more improvement to get involved in the latter stages but connections clearly think a lot of him and he’s one to monitor closely throughout the morning of this. Atomic Jones, currently 25/1, could only finish fourth when his unbeaten record came to an end on his reappearance but the drop in trip may help and he’s not one to write off with the possibility of hitting the frame for Lyons and Keane.
Andrew Balding is probably going to send over Imperial Fighter (also 50/1), and while he didn’t get the best of runs when third on his return at Newcastle, he would need a new personal best to make an impact and I think he’s vulnerable to the potential improvers.
Duke De Sessa could only manage fifth behind Stone Age in the Derby Trial Stakes and needs to bounce back, while New Energy had the run of the race from the front when only third behind Buckaroo last time and is becoming a bit exposed, though he should be thereabouts at the furlong pole and could fare better than his odds indicate.
Irish 2000 Guineas Prediction & Betting Tips
It’s WEXFORD NATIVE (best price 25/1) who I’m drawn to at a double-figure price. Representing last year’s winning connections, Jim Bolger’s charge was having just the second start of his career, following a debut victory at Navan, when running well behind Buckaroo last time. He couldn’t sustain the late charge by the winner but stuck to his guns well to take second and fend off two rivals who re-oppose here despite taking a keen hold throughout the race.
He’s drawn in stall eight which could be a bit tricky but he should get plenty of cover if Kevin Manning can get him right in behind the likely pacesetter New Energy. While he lacks the experience of some of these, his trainer should have a good inkling as to what sort of horse he has on his hands going forward. He appears open to enough potential to warrant a decent each-way bet at the odds.