Irish 2000 Guineas

A top-class field of eight will go to post for the Irish 2000 Guineas. Below, I will assess each runner and provide you with my tips and predictions. 

Irish 2000 Guineas Runners Guide

1. Atlantic Quest 

  • Trainer: Joseph O’Brien 
  • Jockey: Dylan McMonagle
  • Form: 1317
  • Odds: 33/1

 

This son of Kodiac is a winner of two of his four starts, and in between those victories, he finished third in the Group 2 Champions Juvenile Stakes behind Diego Velazquez. 

His reappearance run in a Group 3 race at the same venue was rather disappointing, though, as he was sent off as the joint favourite but could only manage seventh, beating just one rival home. 

This is much tougher, so even though he will be fitter, he looks out of his depth at this deeper level. Opposed for various reasons. 

2. Bright Stripes

  • Trainer: Andy Oliver
  • Jockey: Billy Lee
  • Form: 631281
  • Odds: 50/1

 

Gained a Listed win here last time out but needs plenty more improvement to trouble the majority of his opposition. He is closely matched with Atlantic Quest in a Group 3 race at Leopardstown in October, having finished second to him. He won’t discredit himself, but he has little chance. 

3. Haatem

  • Trainer: Richard Hannon 
  • Jockey: Jamie Spencer
  • Form: 195513
  • Odds: 13/2

 

Kept busy as a juvenile but held his form very well, winning twice, including the Group 2 Vintage Stakes at Goodwood. He ended that campaign with a fifth-place finish in Newmarket’s Dewhurst Stakes, behind City Of Troy

He then turned in a personal best when recording a three-and-a-half-length winner of the Craven Stakes last month before backing that up with an excellent third in the 2,000 Guineas next time out, and he has clearly improved this season.

Nevertheless, stablemate Rosallion finished in front of him last time out, and it is difficult to see how he can possibly find even further improvement to reverse the form. I think a place might be the best he can hope for again. 

4. Mountain Bear 

  • Trainer: Aidan O’Brien
  • Jockey: Declan McDonogh
  • Form: 734412
  • Odds: 20/1

 

More exposed than most with eight runs last year, but he improved as the year went on, winning a Listed race at Dundalk prior to a career-best second in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf behind stablemate and the re-opposing Unquestionable. 

He has a length and a half to make up on the latter here, but considering he was slowly away, he did really well to finish as close as he did. He won’t afford to get too far behind this time, but if he gets away on level terms, I can see him running well at a nice price. 

5. River Tiber

  • Trainer: Aidan O’Brien 
  • Jockey: Ryan Moore
  • Form: 11133
  • Odds: 4/1

 

Landed a maiden on debut by 10 lengths before winning his next two starts, including the Group 2 Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot, with that form working out well.

For instance, the third Bucanero Fuerte has won Group 1, 2, and 3 races since. Back in fifth was the re-opposing Haatem, so there’s a good chance he can confirm his superiority here if he stays the mile.

He was beaten in two Group 1 races after that victory, the Prix Morny and the Middle Park Stakes, but he did well to finish third in each of those behind the top-class Vandeek. 

All of his form has been over sprint distances up to this point, but it’s interesting that he’s been saved for this contest after an absence and could be a serious player. 

6. Rosallion

  • Trainer: Richard Hannon 
  • Jockey: Sean Levey 
  • Form: 11312
  • Odds: 10/11

 

This year’s favourite. Held in high regard by his handler and won three of his four starts as a two-year-old, including a victory in the Group 1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere at Longchamp in October. 

Subsequently, he made his seasonal debut in the 2,000 Guineas and travelled very well before only finding Notable Speech too strong in the closing stages when second. He may have hit the front sooner than ideal, so expect his rider to delay his challenge here. 

He’s a classy horse and has more to offer, and this course should play to his strengths. The combination of the form book, ratings, and odds suggests he is the one to beat. He has the beating of Unquestionable and is a worthy market leader.

7. Take Me To Church 

  • Trainer: Jack Davison 
  • Jockey: Ronan Whelan
  • Form: 721114
  • Odds: 66/1

 

Made the frame in two of his first three starts before winning three on the bounce, including a six-and-a-half-length success at Naas on heavy ground. 

However, he was found out when he stepped up to Group 3 company last time out, finishing only fourth, and this looks too difficult for him. Likely to be outclassed. 

8. Unquestionable

  • Trainer: Aidan O’Brien
  • Jockey: Wayne Lordan
  • Form: 312421
  • Odds: 13/2

 

Improved with every start last year, and with most of his form working out well, he must have a serious place chance. His short-head second to Bucanero Fuerte in the Railway Stakes has been positively advertised, and although he couldn’t hold off Rosallion’s late thrust in the Group 1 Qatar Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere when second, that was still an excellent effort. 

His best performance of the season was in his final start of the campaign when he claimed the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf at Santa Anita. That was his first start over a mile, and he clearly improved for it. 

He has a length to make up on Richard Hannon’s charge from their battle in France and is conceding fitness, but he should still be competitive, with more to come this term.

Irish 2000 Guineas Tips & Predictions

This can go to Richard Hannon’s ROSALLION (best price 10/11). Runner-up in the English version at Newmarket, his handler and jockey Sean Levey have talked him up as being a top-class horse for a while.

His latest effort was excellent, and it should have put his fitness spot on for today’s easier assignment. The ground will suit him, and he has already beaten a few of today’s rivals, so he’s a confident choice to come out on top.

Rosallion, 2.5pts WIN, 10/11

At an each-way price, MOUNTAIN BEAR (best price 20/1) makes the most appeal. 

He might be the yard’s first string, but he did very well to make up so much ground when second to his stablemate Unquestionable in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf when last seen.

As well as that, he wasn’t far behind Rosallion and Haatem in two starts in Britain last season. He is a very interesting participant in his seasonal reappearance, with more to come.

Mountain Bear, 0.5 pts E/W, 20/1