Horse-by-horse guide to Saturday's Tattersalls Irish 2000 Guineas

Skardu wins the Craven
Skardu wins the Craven

Get the view from connections and our team's best bets for the Tattersalls Irish 2000 Guineas at the Curragh.

What the trainers say:

John Gosden - Too Darn Hot: "I'm fully aware it's an unconventional approach. Obviously his programme was turned upside down in the spring. He never made the Greenham; he never made the Guineas and he spent quite a long time walking. As I told everyone when he went to the Dante, he was 85 per cent and he ran a good race. The distance was a little too far, but he probably laid back a bit far off our pacemaker. I thought the winner won well.

"It was not my intention to go to Ireland, but I thought he came out of the race in great order. He was eating well and was full of himself. It looks a really smart race. It is a proper track, so let's hope it is a clean race and that the best horse wins. We are surrounded in all directions, so it will be a very exciting race.

"I wouldn't for one minute under-estimate Skardu, who I thought ran a superb race from an unfortunate draw in the Guineas, and he can put it up to all of us. It looks a very smart Irish 2,000 Guineas, but we are looking forward to running in it. I would have preferred a much more straightforward preparation than this one, but he is a lovely horse and he needs to race.

"I suppose that is probably part of it, too - that it is the last chance to get a Classic, because through no fault of his own he couldn't run in the English one, so we will have a go at this one. Let's hope I'm not asking him too difficult a question."

Aidan O'Brien - Magna Grecia: "He seems to be in good form since Newmarket. He handles the ground - it was fast in Newmarket. It's a good, competitive race."

William Haggas - Skardu: "It is a rematch, and a lot has been made of the Guineas at Newmarket, but I still think that the best horse won on the day there. I do believe that Magna Grecia was in an advantageous part of the track, but I do think he would have won wherever he'd have been that day.

"Skardu is in very good form, and now I just hope he takes the journey well and the ground stays dry. We had good days at the Curragh last year, and it would be nice to continue this season."

Charlie Hills - Phoenix Of Spain: "We feel that the Curragh is going to suit him very much, and the trip will suit him. I think he has got a very good each-way chance in the race. His form looks rock solid, and that is always encouraging to see."

Dermot Weld - Shelir: "I'm delighted with him. He is a straightforward colt; he is a good-actioned horse. He has had no hold-ups, so we are all set and looking forward to running him in the Guineas at the weekend."

Paddy Twomey - Decrypt, "He beat some smart winners at Cork last month. He travelled through the race well and quickened away and did it within himself. It was a nice comeback for him, and the logical next step for him is up in class. He's rated 105 after three starts and he's in very good form. He's on target for Saturday - he's well in himself and he's ready."

Kevin Ryan - Emaraaty Ana: "It's a tough race, but he's in good form going into it."


David Ord horse-by-horse guide

DECRYPT: Progressive and made it two wins from three career starts when scoring at Cork on reappearance. Much more needed here and suspicion is he'll fall short but nice colt for rest of the season.

EMARAATY ANA: Very useful juvenile who landed the Gimcrack at York but beat only one home in QIPCO 2000 Guineas at Newmarket. Too keen there and raced solo on the far side but still to prove he stays a mile and needs to settle much better here to have a chance of getting home.

Emaraaty Ana
Emaraaty Ana wins the Gimcrack at York

GLOBE THEATRE: Not a Ballydoyle leading light judged on three maiden runs so far and looks to be in here to help provide an even pace for his more fancied stablemates.

GUARANTEED: Beaten only one rival in two starts this season at Leopardstown, finishing sixth of seven in the Derrinstown Stud Trial last time. Has plenty to prove for all a drop in trip looks the right move.

HILLWALKER: Had the run of the race when winning maiden at Gowran when last seen in June. Returns in a red-hot Classic and not hard to look elsewhere.

I AM SUPERMAN: Won back-to-back handicaps at Leopardstown and Naas, the latter from a mark of 89, before finishing fifth in a Listed contest here last time. Was too keen there and capable of better - but not of bridging the gap to Group One company this quickly.

MAGNA GRECIA: Only beaten once in four career starts and that was when a neck behind Persian King in the Autumn Stakes at Newmarket. Returned with clear-cut win in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas at Newmarket and for all he may have been favoured by racing in the stands' side group, he travelled strongly and picked up well to put the race to bed. Will be very hard to beat here and in all the top mile contests this term.

Magna Grecia is clear in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas
Magna Grecia is clear in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas

MOHAWK: Won the Royal Lodge at two and good run when second to Circus Maximus in the Dee Stakes at Chester. Drops back to a mile and the suspicion is that at least two of these will have a gear too many for the admirable son of Galileo.

OLD GLORY: Son of Frankel who cost $1.6m as a yearling. Won maiden at Naas on debut and placed in Listed and Group Three company in two subsequent starts. He remains with potential - but will need his sights lowering at some stage.

PHOENIX OF SPAIN: Only beaten a head by Magna Grecia in the Vertem Futurity at Doncaster having been a length-and-three-quarters adrift of Too Darn Hot in the Champagne Stakes at the same track. Reappears here with a solid form chance but needs to have made the same progress from two to three as Magna Gracia showed at Newmarket to have a chance of gaining his revenge.

Phoenix Of Spain lays it down to Magna Grecia at Doncaster
Phoenix Of Spain lays it down to Magna Grecia at Doncaster

SHELIR: Unbeaten in two career starts this spring and improved from a Navan maiden to win the Tetrach Stakes here last time. Much more needed this time but going the right way and in very good hands.

SKARDU: Impressed with his change of gear when winning the Craven last month and stepped up on that to finish third in the Guineas. Has four-and-a-quarter lengths to find with Magna Grecia on that form but led the field home in the main group at Newmarket and is capable of getting closer to the O'Brien colt here.

TOO DARN HOT: Brilliant and unbeaten two-year-old who was forced to miss the QIPCO 2000 Guineas having suffered a minor splint injury. Returned in the Dante when connections felt he didn't stay in finishing second to Telecaster over ten furlongs. Still ran to a good level of form there and should be sharper for the outing. If back to his best will be very hard to beat but hasn't grown much between two and three and the others could be catching him up and it's a very quick turnaround from York to the Curragh.

Celebration time for Frankie Dettori aboard Too Darn Hot
Celebration time for Frankie Dettori aboard Too Darn Hot in the Dewhurst

VAN BEETHOVEN: Railway Stakes winner at two but hasn't got his head in front since in races ranging from Listed level to Group Ones. Sixth in the French 2000 Guineas last time, but never looked like winning, and hard to make much of a case for him here.

VERDICT: A fascinating renewal of the Irish 2000 Guineas. Too Darn Hot was a champion at two and clearly he's expected to improve for the switch back to a mile following his defeat in the Dante at York. He's entitled to come on for it but is coming back to the well quickly here. Magna Grecia was a smooth winner of the Newmarket Classic when racing on the favoured stands' side and is preferred of the two market principals.

However, the value call looks to be SKARDU who was drawn away from his Guineas conqueror but won the race on the far side when beaten four-and-a-half lengths. It still represented a career-best performance from the Craven winner who is entitled to improve again on only his fourth career start. He's capable of closing the gap on Magna Grecia and makes plenty of each-way appeal at 8/1.


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