Ballydoyle trio among 12 bidding for Irish 2,000 Guineas glory

Trainer Aidan O’Brien has three runners as he seeks to win the Irish 2,000 Guineas for a 12th time
Trainer Aidan O’Brien has three runners as he seeks to win the Irish 2,000 Guineas for a 12th time (PA Archive)
11:55am, Thu 20 May 2021
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Aidan O’Brien throws three darts at the Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas as he aims to take his record score to 12 in the colts Classic at the Curragh.

Battleground, Van Gogh and Wembley represent the Ballydoyle handler on Saturday – but all have to bounce back after being well-beaten in the Qipco 2000 Guineas at Newmarket behind Poetic Flare.

The latter is also among the 12-strong field, but Jim Bolger’s colt is on a retrieval mission after finishing only sixth in the French 2000 Guineas on Sunday.

Bolger also saddles Mac Swiney, winner of the Vertem Futurity at Doncaster but fifth on his seasonal debut at Leopardstown two weeks ago.

Mac Swiney is one of two Classic contenders from Jim Bolger's stable (PA Archive)

Heading the ante-post betting is the Jessica Harrington-trained Lucky Vega, who was third to Poetic Flare at Newmarket.

There are two British-trained challengers – Charlie Appleby’s La Barrosa and The Rosstafarian from Hugo Palmer’s stable.

The latter held other engagements, including the Join Casumo Today Silver Bowl Handicap at Haydock on Saturday, but connections have opted to have a tilt at a Classic.

Tom Palin, syndicate manager for owners Middleham Park Racing said: “We’ve had him in a few races – including in Germany, but that is a logistical nightmare to get over there – so we thought the ground is likely to be pretty testing with rain forecast.

I know we're going to go off at 33-1, 40-1 but it's the stuff of dreams

“He’s gone through soft ground at Salisbury on debut, and at Pontefract is was pretty testing.

“Our run in the Craven (fifth) was an unlucky run but one you can mark up. The form has worked out well – with the winner Master Of The Seas, who went on to run a blinder in the English Guineas and finish a short-head second.

“Hugo has spoken to a few people in Ireland, and it was felt it was a race we should be considering at the entry stage.

“I know we’re going to go off at 33-1, 40-1 but it’s the stuff of dreams.”

Colin Keane has been booked for The Rosstafarian in the Irish 2,000 Guineas (PA Archive)

Ireland’s champion jockey Colin Keane, who won the race last year on Siskin, has been booked for The Rosstafarian.

“His agent rang for the ride,” said Palin.

“If someone like him offers their services then we were delighted to get him on board.

“We go there towards the bottom of the betting, but I think we will outrun our odds. I’ll de disappointed if we don’t finish in the first half of the field, but you need something to fall your way to get a bit further than that.

“If nothing else, it’s a sensible tilt.”

The field is completed by Agrimony, Emporio, Monaasib and Rebel Step. San Martino and Thunder Moon were the two horses withdrawn at the 48-hour final declaration stage.

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