The withdrawal of a number of high profile contenders at the five-day declaration stage for Saturday’s Abu Dhabi Irish 2000 Guineas at the Curragh means that only 10 horses go forward to the final declaration stage for the one mile colts’ classic.
Pathfork, who was beaten 26-lengths into seventh behind the mighty Frankel at Newmarket in the Qipco 2000 Guineas, will not have the chance to redeem his reputation at the Curragh, Jessica Harrington having decided to give her previously unbeaten colt more time before heading to Royal Ascot to contest the St James’s Palace Stakes where Frankel once again remains a more than significant obstacle to success, as those placing horse racing bets will no doubt be aware.
Also absent from the list for the Curragh race is US-trained Pluck, who sustained bruised cannon bones when running well below-par at Keeneland at the beginning of April. The Godolphin pair of Casamento (runs at Epsom) and Dubai Prince were missing from the list of acceptors as expected, whilst also staying home are Strong Suit, Native Khan (who also goes for the Derby), and Head Space.
Present in the five-day stage list, but quickly declared an absentee due to colic is Zoffany, but his trainer Aidan O’Brien still has a strong hand with a possible three runners – Master of Hounds, Roderic O’Connor, and High Ruler, set to represent the Ballydoyle handler who has won the race six time in the last 14 years and twice in the last three renewals, with Henrythenavigator (2008), and Mastercraftsman (2009).
Dubawi Gold, second at HQ to Frankel, is a solid 6/4 ante-post favourite for Saturday’s race, whilst Roderic O’Connor and the very useful Kevin Prendergast-trained Dunboyne Express can both be backed at 3/1. John Oxx’s classy maiden Zabarajad is a 6/1 chance, and they then bet 12/1 bar. Godolphin have no runner in the race.