This weekend sees the first Group 1 action of 2017 take place at the Curragh, with the Irish 2000 and 1000 Guineas taking place on Saturday and Sunday respectively. Aidan O’Brien has multiple entries in both of the feature races this weekend, two of whom are odds on to land the first major Group races of the year for the Co. Tipperary maestro.
2000 Guineas – Saturday
Churchill looks like he will take all the beating in this race. He is bidding for a Classic double, having won the English version of this race at the beginning of the month. Last year, Churchill was the highest rated juvenile and he looks set to continue his tremendous form and win for the seventh race in a row. The English Derby looked a likely destination for this horse until connections decided against stepping him up to 12f, the fact this horse was being considered for the big one at Epsom shows how good he is and he should win on Saturday under Ryan Moore.
Thunder Snow is the only English runner in the race for Saeed Bin Suroor and Christophe Soumillon. Last seen when winning a Group 2 at Meydan over 9f in March at the Dubai World Cup meeting, he could outrun his current double figure price. Another runner who lines up at a big price is Glastonbury Song for the in form Ger Lyons and Colin Keane. Although beaten a long way in the Leopardstown trial for this race in April, that was only his second run and Ger Lyons has said this week that he should outrun his big price. With just three runs in his career to date, there could be big improvement in this horse and could be one for punters to latch on to in the place market.
The Mick Halford trained Irish Correspondent is currently second favourite for this race and with a 100% record from his two runs to date, he will be hoping to lower the colours of Churchill. Successful on good ground over 8f on his last start, connections will be hopeful of a big run. After just two runs, he can be expected to improve again and run Churchill close.
1000 Guineas – Sunday
This race revolves around Aidan O’Brien’s Winter. A winner of the English 1000 Guineas at Newmarket, the former David Wachman inmate will take all the beating here. With a decisive victory on Good to Firm ground earlier in the month, he will be even more popular with punters now that Ryan Moore takes over from Wayne Lordan in the saddle.
One horse who could give Winter serious trouble is Rehanna for Mick Halford and Pat Smullen. A winner of a high quality maiden at the Curragh last June, this filly will have a huge say in the race provided the ground stays good. A third place finish in the 1000 Guineas trial at Leopardstown was followed up with a Group 3 win at Naas next time out and considering she is a decent each way price at the moment, it could pay to follow her on Sunday.
Kevin Prendergast and Chris Hayes teamed up to win the 2000 Guineas last year with Awtaad and come in to this race with Aneen. A winner of a big field maiden in October at the Curragh, Kevin Prendergast is said to rate this filly very highly. She will come in to this race on the back of a long break but her trainer will have her trained to the minute with this race being the plan for some time.
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