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Ginger Joe - Irish 2000 & 1000 Guineas Preview

Publish Date: 27/05/2023
Fact checked by: James Leeland
Key Points
  • Two 100% Irish Classics dissected for you
  • Full runner-by-runner guide to this weekend’s big races
  • Check out my social media and let me know your picks

Who is the best of the Irish?

Good evening racing fans! It’s time for the first Irish Classics of the season and today I’m heading off to The Curragh and taking a close look at the 2000 Guineas on Saturday and also the 1000 Guineas on Sunday.

Royal Scotsman currently heads the betting in the 2000 Guineas for Paul Cole, but at 2/1 he seems a little bit short for such a keen type and I’m going to take him on. On Sunday, for the 1000 Guineas, we have a real hotpot in the name of Tahiyra, who finished second in the English version, whilst apparently only being 70% ready to go.

Whatever happens, this is going to be a fascinating weekend of racing and tonight I’m bringing you a runner-by-runner guide to help you make up your own minds.

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15.40 Saturday: The Irish 2000 Guineas – 1 mile

Royal Scotsman @ 2/1 FAV

Last season Royal Scotsman was largely consistent and won the Richmond Stakes at Goodwood in smart fashion over 6 furlongs. He was stepped up to 7 furlongs to contest in the Dewhurst at Newmarket and he seems to have progressed for the step up in trip. He ran Chaldean to a head that day even though he was too keen early on and lost his position at the halfway mark.

He was then stepped up to the mile, to run in the English 2000 Guineas and again was keen, but despite taking an early pull, he really got going late on in the final furlong and was only 2½ lengths behind the smart winner Chaldean. That is some seriously smart form considering he was a tricky ride. The fact he managed to close the gap late on was very impressive and that form could marked up on that basis too. If he settles better this time, he may well get the run of this race.

Paddington @ 9/2

The Ballydoyle first string is Paddington, who was very powerful at the end of his race last time out at the Curragh. That was his first start over a mile and it seemed to bring out significant improvement in this son of Siyouni. He travelled supremely well and looked like the winner some way out, but the thing that impressed me the most was how strong he was at the finish.

He really looks to me like he could be open to much more on his second start over this trip, but the main concern for me is the ground, as his best form has come on much slower going than this. However, he looked a completely different horse last time out and has to be respected.

Hi Royal @ 5/1

Hi Royal was the surprise package from the English version of the 2000 Guineas, running on to finish in second place under Oisin Murphy at odds of 150/1. The fact is, that he didn’t hang so badly to the left, he could have actually been closer to Chaldean. However, Oisin Murphy has been kept in the saddle for the Kevin Ryan trained colt tomorrow and if he can repeat his last performance, he has to have a big chance.

So, the lowdown here is that he already has form on good going and on form, he is the one to beat, but he has been drifting in the market. That could well be because he doesn’t necessarily have the right profile for the race, but I think he has a fantastic chance.

Proud and Regal @ 13/2

Proud And Regal has some decent form here at the Curragh over 7 furlongs, with his best race to date being here in the National stakes. We also know he stays longer based on his last two starts, the most recent of which was over 1m 2f, where he finished third to Sprewell.

However, I have major concerns that he won’t be as effective on this faster ground. The trip definitely isn’t an issue, but he will need to up his game to get close to the top three in the betting.

Galeron @ 11/1

Galeron finished fourth in the English 2000 Guineas, five lengths back off Chaldean, which has to be respected, but I don’t know if he has the class to win this. That being said, his best run (and only win to date) came here in the Goffs Million back in September.

So, he clearly enjoys the track here and stay on well without doubt, but I still feel he will need to improve a massive amount to be involved at business end of this race. This is a very hot contest and I have a plenty ahead of him here.

Cairo @ 11/1

The second Ballydoyle runner here is Group 3 winner Cairo, who beat Bold Discovery in good fashion at Leopardstown last season, but comes here off the back of a disappointing run in the UAE. I would say he has a few too many questions to answer after that and I think there is too much improvement required for him to take this. I actually think he would be better the further he goes but may not have the class to beat the market leaders.

Charyn @ 20/1

Roger Varian runs Charyn here, who does have some good form behind him. He finished second in the Greenham on his first start of the season, which put him in the picture for the English 2000 Guineas, but he disappointed when he got to Newmarket.

Based on that Guineas run, he needs to take a big step forward, but it’s possible we have yet to see the best of him. He’s an interesting contender, with a bit of class about him and we may not have seen the best of him yet, but I’m not sure that’s enough for him to win this.

Age Of Kings @ 25/1

Age Of Kings, Ballydoyle’s third-string runner, is the dark horse of the race for me. He hasn’t done too much winning, but he looks like a horse that is coming to the boil, so if things get a bit messy up front, perhaps he can pick up the pieces. I’m fairly convinced that his best form is yet to come and he’s great each way value.

Quar Shamar @ 25/1

Quar Shamar is the favoured mount of Shane Foley, which tells half a story, as their other runner, Bold Discovery, is a decent enough colt. Quar Shamar has only run twice to date, so he is really being chucked in at the deep end off the back of winning a Maiden at Dundalk.

Although this is not an especially unusual path to take before contesting here, it does suggest that we have not seen his best form yet and Shane Foley clearly thinks he has the ability to run a good race.

Bold Discovery @ 33/1

Bold Discovery won really impressively on his first start at Naas and the significance of that form was the fast ground, which he gets here for the first time since that day. He has been slightly disappointing on softer surfaces since, but with conditions back in his favour we could see a different horse tomorrow.

However, the fact that he acts best on good ground, exactly as his pedigree indicates, may just go under the radar a little. Especially since Shane Foley has decided to ride his stablemate, which may tell us a story in itself.

Alexander John @ 250/1

Unfortunately, I have nothing good to say about Alexander John. He is still a Maiden after seven attempts and would need to start now to have any chance of winning this.

My Irish 2000 Guineas verdict

I have narrowed this down to two selections. The one that I think will finish runner up here is Hi Royal for Kevin Ryan, who threatened to get closer to Chaldean in the English 2000 Guineas. If he hadn't hung so badly down the final furlong, he might even have got his nose in front. He travels really nicely and if he can get a bit of cover this time, he will be really hard to keep out of the first two.

The winner for me though is running in the familiar colours of Michael Tabor. Although trainer Aiden O’Brien hasn’t had the most auspicious start to the season, Paddington, has been the most visually impressive of his charges and is still open to more improvement. I think the form stacks up nicely after his latest win here over course and distance and his proven form experience here gives him a huge advantage.

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15.50 Sunday: The Irish 2000 Guineas – 1 mile

Tahiyra @ 8/15 FAV

The standout runner in the Irish 1000 Guineas has to be Tahiyra, who was extremely impressive as a Juvenile in her two starts. She won a Maiden at Galway, before running out an impressive winner in the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes, where she powered away from Ballydoyle’s Meditate in the final furlong and looked a superstar that day.

In the English 1000 Guineas she ran a mighty race to finish second, considering trainer Dermot Weld said she was only 70% ready to run. Even though she broke slowly out of the stalls, she was only half a length behind Mawj at the line.

She will need to be ridden with the right tactics here. The typical Ballydoyle way is to try and pick runners off one by one, but that is unlikely to work in this race. Although she is likely the best horse in the field, it will require a good ride from Chris Hayes nonetheless. If he can achieve that, already has the beating of second favourite Meditate and will be the one to beat.

Meditate @ 9/2

Ryan Moore has decided to ride Meditate, despite her being beaten easily by Tahiyra twice now. I imagine Ryan will be trying different tactics here to try and get the better of the favourite, but he has a big job on his hands unless Meditate has improved significantly. However, based on her sixth-place performance in the English 1000 Guineas, she has a lot to do.

Her excuse that day was the soft ground and although she clearly performs better on a faster surface, it is still going to take some Ryan Moore magic to have reverse the form tomorrow. She is a Breeders Cup Mile winner, so she is talented enough, but I’m not convinced she will have what it takes to turn the tables with Tahiyra.

Tarawa @ 10/1

Dermot Weld’s other runner here is Tarawa, who seems a decent filly. She showed improvement on her 7f form when she stepped up to a mile for the first time on ground softer than ideal. This will be the first time we have seen her on the faster surface and she is a promising sort after just three runs to date.

She should be able to confirm the form she already has, in beating both Aspen Grove and Comhra, but she still needs to improve even more to win this. She enters calculations if her stablemate doesn’t perform and could be a decent each way play.

Jackie Oh @ 12/1

Jackie Oh comes from a multiple Group 1 winning family and has only had the two runs to date. She won on debut at Naas, before finishing runner up at Navan next time out. Both of her starts have come on heavy ground and she stays really well, as shown in her run at Navan over a mile and a quarter.

She is entitled to improve again and this ground could well bring out more in her. I think she could potentially be the dark horse in the race. She has clearly not hit the ceiling of her ability yet and I think the drop back to a mile will suit her well, so I think she has a great chance of filling one of the places.

Eternal Slice @ 14/1

I can’t help but feel that Eternal Slice is way too short in the betting considering that she is still a Maiden after three starts. She has six lengths to find with Tahiyra, but surely won't be good enough to make up that kind of deficit. Market support could prove to be significant, but she’s not showing on my radar.

You Send Me @ 25/1

You Send Me could be a surprise package in this race and in all three of her runs so far, she has shown nice improvement. She won nicely on her second start of the season and then did really well to get very close in a Group 3 at Leopardstown earlier this month. She is not a forlorn hope here and a big run could be on the cards, but there are many here above her for me.

Aspen Grove @ 25/1

There is a lot to like about the profile of Aspen Grove as a Group 3 winner, but she has been disappointing on either side of that victory. She’s a nice enough horse, but has it all to do if she is to get anywhere near in this race.

Breege @ 33/1

Breege didn’t look out of place in a Group 3 at Longchamp and has form that ties in closely to that of Aspen Grove, which leaves her with a lot to do here. It is really nice to see a British runner in the mix for John Quinn, but she has a lot to find with the best of these.

Dower House @ 33/1

Dower House is full-sister to Churchill, but doesn’t share the same ability unfortunately. To me, it looks she is here just to be a pacemaker for the other two Ballydoyle runners, simply part of the plan to beat the favourite, rather than having the necessary talent herself.

Comhra @ 66/1

Although Comhra showed ability on debut, she has since gone the wrong way. She makes up the numbers, but that’s about it.

My Irish 1000 Guineas verdict

The more I look, the more I think there are plenty of plans afoot which all revolve around trying to get Tahiyra beaten, but I genuinely believe she is going to take some stopping. She already destroyed second favourite Meditate twice, and although I’d love to take her on, I think she is the standout filly in the field and a near certainty to win this race.

Undoubtedly Ballydoyle will try and disrupt her as much as possible with their pacemaker, but I think the one biggest potential upset could be Jackie Oh, who stays further and is the one open to significant improvement. The quicker they go the better chance Jackie Oh has.

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Socialise with Joe!

So, there you have it. A full preview for both the Irish 2000 & 1000 Guineas for this weekend, I do hope you enjoyed my runner-by-runner guide and if you want more, then be sure to catch up with on my social media channels!

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