Duke on course for Curragh classic

James Toller is hoping the rain stays away from the Curragh for Bachelor Duke to take his chance in the Boylesports Irish 2000 Guineas on Saturday.

James Toller is hoping the rain stays away from the Curragh for Bachelor Duke to take his chance in the Boylesports Irish 2000 Guineas on Saturday.

Bachelor Duke, who runs in the colours of the late Duke of Devonshire, is still a maiden but showed he was not out of place in a Classic with a good run in the UltimateBet.com 2000 Guineas.

He finished seventh to Haafhd, beaten five lengths by the winner, on his first run of the season.

“At the moment the plan is to give him a go as long as the ground stays all right for him. He wouldn’t go out there if it came up soft,” said Toller today.

The going was today described as good to firm.

“I’m pretty certain he wants top of the ground so we’re hoping the going stays right and we can give it a go .

“We’ve been pleased with the way he’s been working since Newmarket and I like to think he may have come on a bit.

“We have been thinking of going back to seven with him but we’d rather take the view that they are very few chances of Classics. Some people think we are aiming too high with him but I think it’s worth a go.

“He ran such a good race at Newmarket and I thought the ground and possibly the lack of a race just found him out a bit because he travelled very well.

“We are certainly going to give him one more go at this and we’ll see after that.

“There are horses in there that weren’t that far in front of us so you’d like to think we’ve got a bit of a squeak.”

Bachelor Duke was one of two British-trained horses among 15 horses left in at today’s acceptance stage.

The other was Leitrim House, trained by Brian Meehan. He made a successful trip to the Curragh earlier this month when winning the Group Three Tetrarch Stakes over seven furlongs.

Toller is also considering sending Hanami across the Irish Sea for the Ridgewood Pearl Stakes on the same card.

The four-year-old filly is among seven five-day acceptors for the Group Two event over a mile.

“She’s a possible runner at the moment but she wouldn’t want it too firm. Having looked at the acceptors for that race I would say we were pretty likely to go. She seems in very good form,” he said.

Hanami won the Group Two Pretty Polly Stakes over a mile and a quarter at the Curragh but then finished last in the Irish Oaks there.

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