The Irish 2,000 Guineas (Saturday 5.40) was first run in 1921. It is run over a mile at the Curragh, and is the first Irish Classic of the season.
Aidan O’Brien has farmed the race in recent seasons, winning 4 of the last 5, 6 of the last 8, and 10 in all. Meanwhile, no other Irish Trainer has won the race since 1991, with 4 different English trainers also being successful in the last 10 years.
12 Horses could line-up for the 2016 Irish 2,000 Guineas, and it’s worth taking an early look at the runners.
Air Force Blue 3/1
You’d have been laughed out of Dublin if you’d have said Air Force Blue would have been 3/1 for the Irish 2,000 Guineas but, having been sent off 4/5 for the English equivalent, he flopped badly. However, it’s worth noting that only 3 of O’Brien’s 10 winners were completing the 2,000 Guineas double, and it’s folly to dismiss him, with the soft-ish ground at Newmarket a possible excuse.
Air Vice Marshall 7/1
Kept apart from Air Force Blue last year, Aidan O’Brien’s third favourite finished fourth at Newmarket, and could improve again to take a hand here. It will be interesting to see which horse Ryan Moore rides but, if it’s this one, the price will crumble.
Won nothing more than a Listed Race so far, yet finds himself as one of the favourites. Hard to assess his overall form, and has to prove his stamina at a mile.
Blue De Vega 10/1
Group-3 winner who has a 3lb pull for a 2-length beating by Awtaad, but is another who has to prove he stays a mile, though he promises to do so.
Bred to be suited by middle distances, and has the look of a pacemaker for the O’Brien team.
Galileo Gold 7/4
Won from the front in the English 2,000 Guineas, and his trainer brought Covert Love over here last year to win the Irish Oaks. The Hugo Palmer stable also remain in great form, and he won’t mind if the rain materialises – an obvious favourite’s chance.
Herald The Dawn 20/1
His trainer was out of form when only eighth in the English 2,000 Guineas, but he still looks held by Galileo Gold and Air Force Blue on 2-y-o form.
Lieutenant General 66/1
No chance on form, and looks another possible pace angle for the O’Brien team.
Moonlight Magic 16/1
Won the Derrinstown Derby Trial cosily over 10-furlongs last time, but travelled so well in that race that he is not dismissed if allowed to run. However, the trainer may decide not to give him a hard race with the Derby only 3-weeks away.
Sanus Per Aquam 14/1
Probably a group-3 horse at best, and held on several lines of form.
Stayed-on into second behind Moonlight Magic last time, but running style suggested he’d be taken off his feet over a mile. May run, but probably a prep for the Irish Derby.
A fourth string for Jim Bolger, and looks a likely pacemaker for them.
Irish 2,000 Guineas Summary
Statistics suggest that this will be won by either an Aidan O’Brien runner or Galileo Gold, as his trainer Hugo Palmer is an English Trainer who would be winning the race for the first time. Palmer also sent over Covert Love to win the Irish Oaks last year, and could easily win his third classic here. If you prefer the O’Brien angle, then it might be worth backing Air Vice Marshall each-way, as his price will plummet if Ryan Moore rides him instead of Air Force Blue.