This weekend marks the return of Classic action at the Curragh with Aidan O’Brien’s Gleneagles bidding to become just the fourth horse this century to complete the English and Irish 2,000 Guineas double in Saturday’sTattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas.
The Ballydoyle trained colt is one of 16 in the list of entries for the opening Classic of the Irish season on what promises to be a cracking weekend of high class action at Irish flat racing headquarters.
Trainer Aidan O’Brien said on Tuesday morning; “Gleneagles has been in good form since Newmarket and we are looking forward to running on Saturday at the Curragh. We will decide a little later in the week what else we will run in the 2,000 Guineas”.
Adding plenty of depth to the Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas is Britain’s champion trainer, Richard Hannon, who intends on running Ivawood, who was third behind Gleneagles at Newmarket, and possibly his stable companion Lexington Times, while Roger Varian’s Group 1 winning Dewhurst Stakes winner Belardo is another intriguing runner.
Ger Lyons is responsible for three of the 16 with Cappella Sansevero, Convergence and Endless Drama all left in ahead of Thursday morning’s declaration stage.
Also on Saturday there is the prospect of last season’s Horse Racing Ireland Horse of the Year Sole Power having his first run in Ireland since he finished second at the Curragh back in August 2011 as connections keep a close eye on ground conditions before deciding whether to go to the Curragh or Haydock on Saturday.
Sole Power may well be the headline act in the Group 2 Weatherbys Ireland Greenlands Stakes which still includes Tom Hogan’s globetrotting stable star Gordon Lord Byron and an interesting contender in last year’s Jersey Stakes winner Mustajeeb for Dermot Weld.
On Sunday Aidan O’Brien expects to have a strong team in the feature Tattersalls Irish 1,000 Guineas with Found spearheading his challenge alongside Kissed By Angels, Outstanding, Qualify and Wedding Wow and also among the 21 acceptors at this morning’s forfeit stage was Jim Bolger’s recent impressive Naas winner Pleascach.
Curragh trained Devonshire was the only supplemented entry this morning as trainer Willie McCreery added the Godolphin owned filly to the 1,000 Guineas at a cost of €30,000, while trainer Mick Halford is hoping for a big run from last season’s Debutante Stakes winner Raydara.
Halford said on Tuesday; “She’s in good form and I’m very happy with her. The weather is to pick up later in the week and hopefully they are right as she would like some nice ground.
“The plan was to go to Newmarket for the 1,000 Guineas but she just wasn’t sparking at the time and we said we would just wait for this weekend. She has been to the racecourse for a gallop and I’m happy with her. She is a clear-winded filly and an easy filly to get right and her form from the Debutante Stakes looks rock solid and was well advertised in the English Guineas, so you’d be hopeful she could run a nice race but a Classic is a Classic.”
Curragh based trainer Michael O’Callaghan will be looking for the biggest win of his fledging career when he sends Military Angel out in Sunday’s feature.
O’Callaghan said; “Military Angel will hopefully run in the Irish 1,000 Guineas. She’s still relatively unexposed having only ran twice. She was third in the first of the 1,000 Guineas Trial’s at Leopardstown and won first time out on nice ground. She’ll really appreciate better ground and I’m looking forward to running her.”
Mick Channon’s Malabar, who was fourth in the English 1,000 Guineas features among a strong British challenge.
The Group One Tattersalls Gold Cup also takes place on Sunday and this could already prove to be one of the races of the season with a mouth-watering race on the cards as the Dermot Weld pair of Fascinating Rock and Free Eagle remain among the 10 entries in the race alongside last season’s Irish Champion Stakes winner The Grey Gatsby and previous winner of the race Al Kazeem for Roger Charlton.
Further interest for racegoers on Sunday will be the chance to see Epsom Derby entry Giovanni Canaletto in the Group Three Airlie Stud Gallinule Stakes as he prepares for a possible tilt at the Derby next month.
Racecourse manager Paul Hensey is looking forward to the weekend; “The entries are very encouraging and we looking forward to Gleneagles lining up in the Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas on Saturday and I think all our feature races have held up extremely well. The Tattersalls Gold Cup looks to be as good as we’ve had in a long time and the whole weekend is very exciting. Sunday’s 1,000 Guineas features a lot of high class fillies and Devonshire being added to the field this morning just adds to that.”
Following some showers on Tuesday the forecast is for a dry week at the Curragh and Hensey added;
“The ground is yielding at the moment. We had 3.1mm of rain on Monday and a couple of heavy showers but the track is in great shape with the forecast from Tuesday night until the weekend for dry weather and to get warmer and more humid as the week goes on”
As always the fashion stakes are high on Sunday 24th of May with the Most Stylish competitions running for both ladies and gents. The Irish Tatler K Club Style Icon competition in association with Cullen & Co Jewellers is an event not to be missed! With a total prize fund of over €10,000. Judges include Norah Casey, Kathryn Thomas, leading fashion designer Joanne Hynes, Alexander Fitzgerald, Sharon Smurfit and Anna Fortune
The first race on Saturday 23th May begins at 1.40pm with the feature race, The Tattersalls Irish 2000 Guineas running at 3.20pm. Racing on Sunday 24th of May starts at 1.40pm with the feature race, The Tattersalls Irish 1000 Guineas running at 3.55pm.
Adult admission tickets cost €20.00 or there is a 2 day festival ticket for only €35.00. Adult admission with coach transport from Dublin costs €30.00 on either day and can be booked on www.curragh.ie. There are half price concessions for under 25’s and seniors, while under 16’s are free.
There is free car parking at the Curragh Racecourse and trains from Dublin to Kildare Town with free shuttle bus to races. Dublin Coach also provide a service on race days (see dublincoach.ie).