Irish 2,000 Guineas: Paddington strikes for O'Brien and Moore

Sat 27 May 2023

Paddington made a seamless switch to Classic company as he gave trainer Aidan O’Brien another victory in the Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas at the Curragh.

Having begun his season in handicap company off a mark of 97, Paddington won the Tetrarch Stakes next time before being pitched into the Guineas.

Ryan Moore was keen to grab an early position on the 3-1 victor and settled just behind Oisin Murphy on Hi Royal, the surprise runner up in the Newmarket Guineas.

For a brief spell it appeared as if Murphy was keeping a bit up his sleeve as Moore got down into the drive position, but with half a furlong left to run, Paddington began to gain the upper hand.

He leaned in briefly on Hi Royal, but he was already in command and as Hi Royal began to weaken it was the winner’s stablemate Cairo who made late gains from the rear to claim second, beaten two lengths.

Royal Scotsman was sent off the 6-4 favourite but never looked like getting involved as O’Brien claimed a 12th victory in the race, although it was his first since Churchill in 2017.

The winner is now the 4-1 second favourite for the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot with Coral, who have Newmarket winner Chaldean as the 11-8 market leader.

Aidan O'Brien discusses the victories of Paddington and Little Big Bear

“We went to Ascot first time (at two) with him and he was very babyish. Then he came back and won a maiden very easily here with Seamus (Heffernan),” said O’Brien.

“He wintered very well and we were very happy with him in the spring. He ended up in the Madrid (Handicap) on a lovely mark, it was a lovely place to start him as it was over seven furlongs, even though the ground was soft.

“Then he came back here and won the Tetrarch in soft ground again, so we weren’t really sure about the ground with him. Obviously he’s a Siyouni out of a Montjeu mare. He was always a beautiful mover but you are never sure until they do it.

“Seamus loved him the last day and he had been doing everything really nice since. He’s a fine, big horse and is maturing very well. He’s very good looking.

“He was a little bit slow away, but Ryan got his position very quickly on him and he didn’t light him up to do it. He’s a very exciting horse.”

When asked if the St James’ Palace could be next, he added: “What we always do is we go home and give them a week or 10 days and then the lads discuss it with Ryan and everyone else before deciding where they would like to go.

“That looks like the natural progression for him though, because he doesn’t look short of speed, even though he will get further in time.”

He added: “He missed the break and where he was, if he had stayed there it could have been a very dangerous position because he would have been at the mercy of the race.

“Ryan went out with the mindset that he’d ride his own horse and it didn’t matter where anyone else was going to be, he was going to be happy to make the running or do whatever.

“He had great confidence in him but that split second decision when he made that move very quickly to have that position, without lighting up the horse, made all the difference.

“He travelled like a dream and when he asked him he did quicken, but he’s still a little bit of a baby and he probably would have learned a lot today quickening on that ground.”

Givemethebeatboys books Ascot ticket

Jessica Harrington’s Givemethebeatboys maintained his unbeaten record with a narrow victory in the GAIN Marble Hill Stakes at the Curragh.

A winner at Navan on his debut just a fortnight ago, he was sent off an 11-1 chance in what looked a strong Group Three on paper as five of the six runners were defending perfect starts to their careers.

The only one beaten on debut, Adrian Murray’s Valiant Force, had been second and he set a scorching gallop down the centre under Colin Keane but started to weaken a furlong out.

At that point Noche Magica looked sure to collect having gone by the eventual winner, but Paddy Twomey’s colt began to tire while Aidan O’Brien’s His Majesty made a run up the rail, only for Givemethebeatboys to poke his head in front in between the pair and win by a head under Shane Foley.

O’Brien’s Democracy, his apparent first string under Ryan Moore, disappointed in last while the winner is now 12-1 for the Coventry at Royal Ascot with Coral.

Assistant trainer Kate Harrington said: “It’s great to kick off the day with a Group Three winner. He was very professional out there and he out battled the other horses the whole way to the line.

“He was very impressive when he won at Navan, a furlong down you’d think ‘how is this horse going to win?’ and he put his head down and galloped the whole way to the line.

“He hated the ground that day and was green. He’s learned an awful lot from that and will learn an awful lot from today, he’ll be even more competitive the next day when we go to Ascot.”

O’Brien had already been on the mark in the opening Tally Ho Stud Irish EBF (C&G) Maiden with Unquestionable.

Third on his debut in a Listed race, he appreciated the step up to six furlongs and the 4-6 favourite bounded four and a quarter lengths clear of Mr Saturday.

The Ballydoyle handler indicted the Coventry Stakes would be next, for which Coral make him a 12-1 chance.

“We’re delighted with him. We felt he’d appreciate the step up, it was big ask to throw him in over five first time in a stakes race, he’s going to get even further than this probably,” said O’Brien.

“Ryan was very happy with him. He went to the line very strong.

“It’s very hard to beat a run and he had a good run. He looks like a Coventry horse.”

Art Power maintain unbeaten Irish record in Greenlands

Oisin Murphy rode his first ever winner at the Curragh as Art Power confirmed his love for Ireland when winning the Weatherbys Ireland Greenlands Stakes in clear-cut fashion.

Trained by Tim Easterby, the grey was winning for the fourth time in as many attempts in Ireland.

Swiftly away from the stalls, the 2-1 joint-favourite looked in a comfortable rhythm throughout while his main market rival, Charlie Hills’ Garrus, was almost detached at the back of the field under Ryan Moore.

When Garrus did begin to make a move from the rear, Art Power had plenty left and kicked on again over a furlong out, running out a four-and-three-quarter-length winner from Big Gossey, with Garrus third.

The winner, gelded in the winter, is now as low as 8-1 with Betfair for the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot.

“He was a top-class sprinter and he lost his form a little bit. Tim Easterby and King Power Racing have been patient with him and today he gave me a super feel,” said Murphy.

“He loves Ireland and has never been beaten here, that’s his fourth victory from four starts – what a fantastic horse.

“I hadn’t ridden any winners here before today, so I can’t say I was very confident through the race and I knew what I was doing. I pretended I did anyway and I had the right horse.

“This is a great feeling. I managed to win a Listed race on Buckaroo at Leopardstown last month and to be here on such a big day is massive.”

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