Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas: runner-by-runner guide and tip

Sat 27 May 2023

Eleven colts will head to post at the Curragh on Saturday in search of Classic glory in the Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas, live on Racing TV. We have put each contender under the microscope plus revealed who we think will land the mile showpiece. Enjoy all the action from the Irish venue this weekend live on Racing TV, plus watch a special edition of On The Wire (below) to find out what Aidan O'Brien has to say about his key players across Saturday and Sunday.

On The Wire: Aidan O'Brien joined the team to provide the lowdown on his Tattersalls 2,000 Guineas contenders plus the rest of his key players at the Curragh this weekend

1. Age Of Kings

Trainer: Aidan O’Brien. Jockey: Seamie Heffernan. Form: Form: 21743-

Kingman colt who cost 1.1 million guineas as a yearling. First sprung to prominence with an all-the-way win over six furlongs here at the Curragh, before coming up short in the Coventry Stakes (seventh), the Railway Stakes (fourth), and when third to Proud And Regal in the Tyros Stakes at Leopardstown. Absent from competitive action since last summer and one of three for Aidan O’Brien.

2. Alexander John

Trainer: Luke Comer. Jockey: Nathan Crosse. Form: 83336-07

Seven-race maiden. Placed on various occasions last backend, with his best effort coming when third to Hogmany in a 7f Dundalk Median Auction Maiden. Has failed to progress this year and has no conceivable chance against this calibre of opposition. Safe and sensible to look elsewhere.

3. Bold Discovery

Trainer: Mrs John Harrington. Jockey: Billy Lee. Form: 13-25

Made a winning debut at Naas (7f) before finishing third to today’s rival Cairo in the Group 3 Killavullan Stakes (Leopardstown). Unsettled prior to his comeback run in the “Red Rocks” but still managed to finish a clear second-best to Hans Anderson and has a valid excuse - scoped dirty - for his below-par fifth to Paddington in the Tetrarch Stakes. Set to encounter different ground here but deserving of another chance to prove his worth over a mile.

4. Cairo

Trainer: Aidan O’Brien. Jockey: Wayne Lordan. Form: 2121-10

C&D maiden winner who concluded his juvenile season with success (Bold Discovery third) in the Group 3 Killavullan Stakes at Leopardstown. Back in action early this year – Aidan O’Brien’s first runner of 2023 - when a silky-smooth winner of Dundalk’s Patton Stakes (AW), before struggling to negotiate the switch to dirt when flopping in the UAE Derby at Meydan.

5. Charyn

Trainer: Roger Varian. Jockey: David Egan. Form: 12131-28

Dark Angel colt from a 5f Listed-placed winning dam. No match for the subsequent French Guineas (Poule d’Essai des Poulains) second Isaac Shelby in Newbury’s Greenham Stakes, and well short (eighth of 14) on his first attempt over a mile in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas. Quicker ground might suit, but stamina reserves are inconclusive and has work to do with some of these to reverse Newmarket placings.

6. Galeron

Trainer: Charles Hills. Jockey: Colin Keane. Form: 516641-34

Enjoyed a bumper payday when winning the Goffs Million here (7f, soft) last September and fared respectably when placed on seasonal reappearance in the Burradon Stakes. Took a marked step forward when outrunning his odds in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas (fourth), which marks him down as a place prospect, even though he is yet to get the better of Royal Scotsman in three previous attempts (Goodwood, York, and Newmarket).

7. Hi Royal

Trainer: Kevin Ryan. Jockey: Oisin Murphy. Form: 31-42

Ayr novice winner (over a mile) on final juvenile start and a fair fourth on seasonal reappearance at Newmarket’s Craven meeting. Sent off at massive odds for the QIPCO 2000 Guineas but ran a mighty race, forcing the pace and, despite veering across the course, was able to split the Dewhurst Stakes 1-2 Chaldean and Royal Scotsman (with Galeron fourth). Interesting to see if he can replicate that sharp improvement on faster ground.

8. Paddington

Trainer: Aidan O’Brien. Jockey: Ryan Moore. Form: 51-11

Siyouni colt (€420,000 yearling). Reportedly “very green” when disappointing on Ascot debut, but hugely progressive since, recording three straight wins (a maiden, a handicap, and a Listed race). Travels strongly through his races, readily accounting for stablemate Drumroll (and a below-par Bold Discovery) in the Tetrarch Stakes. The Curragh holds no fears, and he should take the switch to fast ground in his stride. Could easily develop into one of the major Ballydoyle flagbearers as the season progresses.

9. Proud And Regal

Trainer: Donnacha O’Brien. Jockey: Gavin Ryan. Form: 11321-3

By Galileo, from the 2006 Fillies’ Mile winner Simply Perfect. Concluded a stellar juvenile season with a brave and determined win in the Group 1 Criterium International (Saint-Cloud) and the form of his earlier National Stakes second (to the absent Al Riffa) stacks up well. There were mitigating circumstances for an underwhelming comeback third to the Derby-bound Sprewell at Leopardstown (1m2f), but merits ample respect dropping back to a potentially much more suitable trip.

10. Quar Shamar

Trainer: Mrs John Harrington. Jockey: Shane Foley. Form: 0-1

Soft ground was cited as a potential excuse for finishing down the field on debut (over 7f here) behind the subsequent Criterium International runner-up Espionage. Returned to action a different model, making a striking impressing when scoring on the Polytrack at Dundalk over this trip. Lightly raced and open to a significant degree of improvement but this represents a sterner test of his credentials.

11. Royal Scotsman

Trainer: Paul & Oliver Cole. Jockey: Jamie Spencer. Form: 413152-3

Richmond Stakes winner at the Qatar Goodwood Festival and chased home Chaldean in the Dewhurst Stakes (7f) on final juvenile start. A shade keen early when finding that same rival (and Hi Royal) too strong when third on first attempt over a mile in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas. Supplemented for €50,000 after producing “a sparkling piece of work” earlier this week.

Big-race verdict:

While the QIPCO 2000 Guineas hero Chaldean is also absent, the strength of the first Newmarket Classic is tested via Hi Royal (second), Royal Scotsman (third), Galeron (fourth) and Charyn (eighth). Time will dictate the answers, but it is easy to ask a question or two about the strength of that form, so the suggested approach is to stick with the home-based contingent.

Donnacha O’Brien has shelved any Derby plans for the dropped-in-trip Proud And Regal, whose juvenile form over seven furlongs and a mile appears solid, while Aidan O’Brien saddles three runners (Age Of Kings, Cairo, and Paddington) in search of a record-extending 12th Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas.

O’Brien Snr is certainly due another – his last Irish Guineas winner was Churchill in 2017 – but it will come as no surprise if his upwardly mobile Siyouni colt PADDINGTON can deliver the goods before going on to become one of the major flagbearers for Ballydoyle throughout the remainder of the season.

1. Paddington. 2. Proud And Regal. 3. Royal Scotsman.

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