IN this afternoon’s Abu Dhabi 2000 Guineas at the Curragh, punters have latched onto Kevin Prendergast’s Dunboyne Express as the most likely candidate to prevent the prestigious event going for export to Richard Hannon for the second successive year.
The British champion trainer struck with Canford Cliffs 12 months ago and this time saddles Dubawi Gold, who finished second to Frankel in the Newmarket equivalent.
Dunboyne Express lost his unbeaten run when fifth behind then compatriot Casamento in the Racing Post Trophy last season, but he made a successful comeback in the 2,000 Guineas Trial at Leopardstown at the end of March.
His trainer Kevin Prendergast is hopeful the improving colt can go close this afternoon.
“He’s in good form and has been working well, so hopefully he’ll run a big race,” said Prendergast.
“We have Hannon’s horse to beat obviously, but our horse is improving and we think he’s a better horse than he was last year.
“We hope he’s improved a bit for that first run, but he’ll have to if he’s going to win.”
Richard Hannon, who won the race with Don't Forget Me in 1987, Tirol in 1990 and Canford Cliffs last year, is expecting a bold show from Dubawi Gold but is respectful of the opposition.
“Dubawi Gold has worked well since Newmarket and his final scope was good,” he told his website www.richardhannonracing.tv.
“We did not have him last year so you can’t compare him with my other three winners, but, though he has taken time to relax, he switched off beautifully in the Guineas.
“He is a smashing horse with a real good turn of foot and though people are claiming that this is a sub-standard Classic, there are no easy Group Ones.”
Hughes is confident the colt will take all the beating.
“He’s the one to beat on form – there’s no doubt about that,” the jockey told Racing UK. “I rode him to be placed in the Guineas and said any more is a bonus. But in the end I rode him to win and ended up getting beat six lengths.
“If I’d just ridden him to be placed, I probably wouldn’t have come off the bridle.”
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