Curragh Saturday: Read The Runes and Back Symbolization in Guineas5 min read
I fancy a couple of British-trained representatives to steal the glory on Irish 2000 Guineas day.
15:00 Cold Move Irish European Breeders Fund Marble Hill Stakes
Van Beethoven will likely start favourite here given he’s Ryan Moore’s pick of three runners from the Aidan O’Brien yard, but there is nothing to choose between him and Fairyland on form, and the Kodiac filly makes more appeal given she’s just had one start to date, and is presumably open to greater improvement as a result. She certainly looked a cut above the average when winning at Naas from Mintd and stablemate Coral Beach, and while the latter was a beaten favourite behind Evasive Power a week ago, that came at 5f, and the drop in trip would not have suited. Fairyland cost a whopping 925,000 gns as a yearling, and she can prove her worth by gaining a black-type win here.
Back Fairyland to win @
15:35 Weatherbys Ireland Greenlands Stakes
Merchant Navy is a fascinating recruit from Australia for Aidan O’Brien, and the pick of his form this year makes him look competitive, but it’s not always easy for the antipodeans to acclimatise immediately, and ready preference is for a pair making a shorter crossing, namely English challengers Brando and Tasleet. The pair were due to clash in the Duke of York Stakes recently, but Tasleet was an eleventh-hour absentee, and Brando was left to chase home the exceptional Harry Angel. It’s to the gelding’s great credit that he looked the likeliest winner for a brief period, and he was strong enough to withhold Sir Dancealot for second, thereby confirming Abernant Stakes form. He’s a thoroughly reliable and likeable character who won the Group 1 Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville last year, and can be forgiven his subsequent defeats as he was suffering with his breathing, but now looks back to his best after an operation. He has a fitness edge over Tasleet, and has excuses for finishing behind that rival in Group 1 events last autumn, so looks the value call.
Back Brando to win @
16:10 Tattersalls Irish 2000 Guineas
Ryan Moore once again sets a poser by riding U S Navy Flag here, which seems him supplant Gustav Klimt in the betting. It’s possible that his decision rather undermines any confidence in the Newmarket sixth, who had previously impressed in winning his trial. One thing I can’t buy into is the notion that U S Navy Flag is fancied to win by connections, as he seems a blatant non-stayer at a mile, fading out of things at Del Mar in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and again in the French Guineas, where he led until the furlong pole, but could finish only fifth. In between he was routed by Gustav Klimt at Leopardstown, and that makes Moore’s loyalty hard to fathom. Elarqam is the obvious bet having beaten Gustav Klimt at Newmarket and he may have paid for a lack of match practice in finishing fourth behind Saxon Warrior. He’s priced up as such, however, and with the second favourite looking poor value, there must be an each-way angle in, and the suggestion is to back Symbolization at 14/1 after he won a handicap on Guineas day off a mark of 100. The time of that contest compared quite well with the Guineas itself, and the son of Cape Cross hasn’t stopped progressing yet.
Back Symbolisation each way @