WHEN final declarations were made yesterday morning for tomorrow’s Tattersalls Irish 2000 Guineas (3.35pm) at the Curragh, it still came as a slight surprise to see the name TOO DARN HOT in the final field.
John Gosden’s colt only made his eagerly awaited seasonal reappearance just over a week ago when a gallant second to Telecaster in the Dante Stakes at York.
Connections immediately put that defeat down to a lack of stamina and earmarked a drop back to a mile in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot as his logical next start.
Well, they say that a week is a long time in racing and so it proves again as the Gosden team report that he has come out of York so well that he will take in tomorrow’s Irish Guineas on is way to Ascot.
Last season’s champion two-year-old had been a red-hot ante-post favourite for the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket all winter until a slight setback ruled him out of a tilt at the first Classic of the season.
My guess is that connections realise that tomorrow is their last chance to win a Classic with the colt now that the Derby is off the cards and, more importantly, they fancy their chances against favourite Magna Grecia.
That was the first defeat of a career which had seen him record a perfect four out of four as a juvenile including victory in the Group One Dewhurst Stakes.
The beautifully bred three-year-old still looks all about speed and it would be a surprise if he doesn’t turn out to be the best of his crop in the mile division in Europe, let alone Britain and Ireland.
That said, in Magna Grecia, he faces a really good 2000 Guineas winner who won at Newmarket fair and square despite what some may say about draw biases.
Like Too Darn Hot, he has only tasted defeat once in his career to date and his neck second to Persian King at Newmarket last Autumn reads pretty well now considering that colt’s victory in the French 2000 Guineas earlier this month.
However, he faces a colt out of the very top drawer in Too Darn Hot who I fancy to turn over the favourite at a best-priced 6/4 with Coral.
It’s the turn of the fillies on Sunday with the Tattersalls Irish 1000 Guineas (4.25pm) and we won’t know the final field until later this morning.
The betting is headed by the two fillies who finished first and third in the Newmarket equivalent and on paper they are the obvious ones to beat.
Aidan O’Brien’s Hermosa went hard and fast from the front that day and may not confirm the placings with Qabala who has been supplemented for this.
That was only the third start of Roger Varian’s filly’s career and she may just have been caught out by her inexperience.
At the prices though, I am going to take a chance on another O’Brien runner in JUST WONDERFUL at 6/1 with Coral.
She was having her first start of the campaign when sixth at Newmarket and ran a fair bit better than her finishing position suggests.
Not only did she seem to run all over the track when losing her balance coming out of the dip, she also had to run through the flailing whip of a rival jockey.
She flew home under hands and heals when they hit the rising ground and I expect her to shape far better come Sunday.
Too Darn Hot 3.35pm Curragh SATURDAY
Just Wonderful e/w 4.25pm Curragh SUNDA