Irish 2000 Guineas Preview – Saturday 22nd May

Last updated: May 20, 2021 by Leon Marshal

The feature race at the Curragh on Saturday is the Group 1 Irish 2000 Guineas over a mile. The race is often the target for horses who ran in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket. Nine horses have completed the double, the most recent being Churchill in 2017. He was the latest of a record eleven winners of the race trained by Aidan O’Brien. Last year’s race was won by Siskin, trained by Ger Lyons and ridden by Colin Keane.

horses on track

Lucky Vega Favourite Despite Ground Concerns

Newmarket runner-up Lucky Vega has been installed as favourite, despite trainer Jessica Harrington expressing concern over the prospect of soft ground. The son of Lope De Vega was a high-class juvenile, winning the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes here in September. The going was on the easy side of good that day, but that was over six furlongs. He tackled a mile on good to firm ground at Newmarket in the Guineas and finished a close third to Poetic Flare. He has always shown plenty of speed, and deteriorating conditions could stretch his stamina at the Curragh.

The winner, Poetic Flare, made a surprise return to action in the French Guineas last weekend when only sixth to St Mark’s Basilica. He has been declared to run in a third Classic in the space of 22 days which is a very bold decision by connections. Other entries who ran at Newmarket were the Aidan O’Brien trio of Van Gogh (eighth), Wembley (eleventh) and Battleground (thirteenth).

O’Brien Team Expected To Leave Newmarket Form Behind

The 2000 Guineas was a rare reversal for O’Brien, but his record in this race speaks for itself. There is no doubt that Battleground, Wembley and Van Gogh are all capable of a lot better than they showed at Newmarket. Battleground was a big, raw two-year-old but still managed to win a Group 2 and Goodwood and finish second at the Breeders’ Cup. The fast ground and Newmarket’s undulations were offered as possible reasons for his dismal display in the Guineas.

Wembley fared little better, which was surprising for a colt who was placed in all six starts at two. The pick of them was his close second to stable companion and subsequent French Guineas winner St Mark’s Basilica in the Dewhurst. Van Gogh did best of the O’Brien horses but was still beaten seven lengths. He has always shaped as though he would stay beyond a mile, notably when staying on behind One Ruler in the Autumn Stakes in October. The sole British-trained runner is La Barrosa, trained by Charlie Appleby. He was well behind Van Gogh in France in heavy ground last year but returned to chase home Master Of The Seas in the Craven Stakes. The forecast suggests that conditions may go against him this weekend, although his conqueror gave the form a boost with a fine run in the Newmarket Classic.

Mac Swiney won the Futurity Stakes at Doncaster for Jim Bolger and had been regarded as a Derby contender. He reappeared at Leopardstown earlier this month but finished a one-paced fourth behind Derby favourite Bolshoi Ballet. The prospect of testing conditions could bring him into contention.

Monaasib has some good form in the book for Kevin Prendergast, including finishing second to High Definition at the Curragh last season. He returned with a good third to Poetic Flare in the 2000 Guineas Trial.

Betting Tips

Monaasib @16-1 bet365

Van Gogh @10-1

La Barossa @13-2

Each-way 1/5 odds, 1,2,3

The Irish 2000 Guineas is due off at 3.20 at the Curragh on Saturday 22nd May and will be televised live on ITV4.