Richard Hannon’s Dubawi Gold has been installed the early favourite for Saturday’s Abu Dhabi Irish 2000 Guineas with a number of colts dropping out of the reckoning for the Curragh Classic.
The runner-up to Frankel in the Newmarket equivalent was supplemented for the race by owner Andrew Tinkler and was priced up by Paddy Power as the 7-4 market leader.
The most notable dropouts were David Simcock’s Dream Ahead and the Jessica Harrington-trained Pathfork.
Dream Ahead has missed potential engagements in both the French and English versions of the Classics because of the ground.
Simcock will now focus the attentions of last year’s Middle Park winner on the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot and a potential rematch with Frankel, who beat him in the Dewhurst last autumn.
“Dream Ahead won’t be running in Ireland – the forecast is not in his favour,” he told www.davidsimcock.co.uk.
“It has been a difficult spring for us as we feel we haven’t been able to do the work on grass with the horse that we would liked to have done.
“We’ve always genuinely felt that he is a horse who needs cut in the ground. With it having been so dry for so long, it has been frustrating.
“At the same time, I am delighted with his mindset and how he is, physically. Our next option is the St James’s Palace Stakes, allowing for good ground or easier.
“We’re very much looking forward to that. The challenge of running against Frankel excites me. It is nice to have a horse who we believe is capable of taking him on. Having said that, I’m glad we didn’t take him on in the 2000 Guineas!”
Pathfork, who was seventh at Newmarket, also has an entry in the St James’s Palace and Harrington said there was nothing amiss with him.
“He is fine, but I’ve been away for a week and haven’t yet talked to the owners (the Silverton Hill Partnership) about making a plan for him,” explained Harrington.
Aidan O’Brien’s Roderic O’Connor, who beat only two home when 11th behind Frankel, is Paddy Power’s 7-2 second-favourite along with stablemate Zoffany and Dunboyne Express, who was produced by Kevin Prendergast to win a three-runner Guineas trial at Leopardstown.
O’Brien has three others among the 11 remaining in the field through High Ruler, Master Of Hounds and Oracle.
The 2000 Guineas fourth Slim Shadey and Michael Dods’ Ashva are the only other possible British representatives while Foolproof and Zabarajad complete the line-up.
Abu Dhabi Irish 2000 Guineas Paddy Power bet: 7-4 Dubawi Gold, 7-2 Roderic O’Connor, Dunboyne Express, Zoffany, 7-1 Zabarajad, 12-1 Master Of Hounds, 20-1 Slim Shadey, 25-1 High Ruler, Oracle, 200-1 Ashva, Foolproof.