2012 Irish 2000 Guineas Preview
At this early stage of his career Aidan O’Brien is already the most winning trainer of the Irish 2000 Guineas. Seven wins with the likes of Rock Of Gibraltar and Henrythenavigator mean whatever he runs has to be taken seriously. The Master of Ballydoyle has won four of the last ten runnings and has had seven placed horses to boot – in 2001 the Wexford native saddled the first three home.
Richard Hannon is another trainer to note. Hannon has won three renewals his most recent coming in 2010 with the classy Canford Cliffs. Jim Bolger is yet to win the Irish 2000, but he has had numerous placed runners so must be respected with what he sends.
Number one on your race card will be the David Wachman trained Alkazim. The son of Holy Roman Emperor looks to have it all to do and is easily passed over. Similar comments apply to one of the English raiders, Foxtrot Romeo.
The Irish 2000 Guineas is still a race that eludes John Oxx, but he has an outside chance with his well-bred charge, Born To Sea – the fantastically produced half-brother to Galileo and Sea The Stars. The son of Invincible Spirit is racing Royalty with his bloodline – you simply will not get better genes in the racing game. His dam, Urban Sea, was an Arc winner and has produced no less than four individual Group One winners. The family is quite remarkable. Genes won’t win him the Guineas, however, and he needs to bounce back from two disappointing efforts in-a-row. Excuses have been found the twice, but his trainer has always had a lot of faith in him. Regular race jockey, Johnny Murtagh, rides his stablemate, but don’t read anything into that as he is contracted to do so. Pat Smullen now takes the ride and a change of jockey with a first time hood may just spark him into life. Furthermore, he gets fast ground for the first time in his career – another positive.
With Ballydoyle having such a good record here all horses need monitoring and that’s the same for Daddy Long Legs. He hasn’t been campaigned like a regular Ballydoyle horse – a dream of capturing the Kentucky Derby being placed upon him. The son of smart dirt horse, Scat Daddy, has not raced in Ireland since his maiden win at Gowran Park. His last three runs have been in America (2) and Dubai. The three-year-old acquitted himself well at Meydan on the tapeta surface, but a return to dirt, which he has failed on before, saw him pull-up in the Kentucky Derby. Heat exhaustion was to blame along with the dirt surface at Churchill Downs. He has ability this horse, but is another who needs to bounce back. The return to turf should help.
As well as a number of English raiders the French will also be represented. The lightly-raced Hermival, third in the English 2000 Guineas, looks set to run. The son of Dubawi warrants serious respect given the quarters he comes from. Mikel Delzangles won’t be a household name in Ireland and England, but he is well capable of training a good horse. An English 2000 Guineas and a Melbourne Cup are just two races already on his C.V. His third in the English equivalent is some of the best form on offer and considering that was only his third race, improvement can be expected. Many felt he was drawn on the wrong side of the track at Newmarket and to a degree, he was, but I don’t feel he was significantly affected by it. In fact, he may have been racing on quicker ground, but for sure, he could have been covered-up for longer with more company. He’ll get a much fairer crap of the whip at the Curragh. He has a massive chance, but quick ground is a slight worry for some, but it should be fine for him.
Current favouritism lies with Parish Hall who hasn’t been seen since last year’s Dewhurst win. The son of Teofilo was a bit hit and miss last year, but when on song was a force. A trip and more importantly good ground is key to his cause. A major worry is the distance of one mile, however. His pedigree screams middle distances and this fact was backed-up by his form last season. The fact he managed to win over six furlongs, beating a real speedster in Requinto, goes some way to proving his class. He’s a horse Bolger loves, but a lack of a recent run over an inadequate trip will probably prove his undoing.
Aidan O’Brien won this last year with Roderic O’Connor after a poor English 2000 Guineas showing. Power comes into the race on a similar note after running well below par at Newmarket. The son of Oasis Dream was also an unlucky runner-up in the Dewhurst and a close second in the Phoenix Stakes, before his disappointing effort. The ground and an interrupted preparation means his Guineas run is best forgotten and he is high on the list to bounce back.
His stablemate, Reply, needs to step-up considerably on last season’s form to take a hand and is passed over. Similar comments apply to Wrote who I don’t fancy.
John Oxx has two runners and his second is Tarkar. The son of Oratorio has only had the three runs and his form is nowhere near as strong as some of those above. That being said, he has won his last two starts well with the latter of those proving a good run considering he had missed a lot of work in the run-up to his start. He does need to step-up, though, and the trip may prove to be a little on the sharp side. Not for me and terrible value.
As stated earlier Richard Hannon must be respected with what he sends to the Curragh and Trumpet Major is the choice of the stable. One could not be but impressed by his Craven win where he carried a penalty and went on to score by five lengths. The overall form of that race was questionable, but he proved it no fluke with a gallant fourth in the Guineas. The softer ground that day would not have been ideal for him so the quicker Curragh ground will suit. He’s another who has to be high on the list.
So an interesting Irish 2000 Guineas renewal. Your current favourite is Parish Hall, but he is one of the first I’d have to rule out over this trip. Reply, Wrote, Alkazim and Foxtrot Romeo are also passed over. Tarkar, for me, is no price for what he has achieved on the track. He has won a poor Listed race, but yet is shorter than the likes of Trumpet Major and Power in places. He’s not for me. The five which are proving tough to split are Born To Sea, Daddy Long Legs, Hermival, Power and Trumpet Major.
The problem with a lot of these horses is they are on a comeback mission. Born To Sea, Daddy Long Legs and Power all need to bounce back after their last runs. In terms of value, Daddy Long Legs seems to be it and given he may be the pace angle, remains interesting. Some of his form gives him a solid each-way squeak, but he is a risky proposition given his last run. Same must be said about Power, a big powerful son of Oasis Dream. The strapping winner of the Coventry has had his physique since his two-year-old career and it may just be a case of the rest now catching-up with him. Two livelier dangers come from Hermival and Trumpet Major, the Guineas third and fourth. Of the two. I’d fancy Trumpet Major to turn the form even though he looks a lot more exposed than the French runner. Richard Hannon’s colt basically had to make his own running on ground he would have hated. He should be able to get a lead on Saturday and should go close. A saver on Daddy Long Legs is also advised given his trainer’s record in this race, but he represents a small leap of faith. It’s one I’m willingly to take, however. I reluctantly pass over Born To Sea, too.
1pt win Trumpet Major @ 6-1
and 0.5pts each-way Daddy Long Legs @ 12-1