Parish Hall attempts the first leg of a remarkable Classic double in the Abu Dhabi Irish 2,000 Guineas at the Curragh day.
Last year’s shock Dewhurst Stakes winner bypassed the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket earlier this month due to the rain-softened ground, but trainer Jim Bolger is intent on making up for it over the next week.
The son of Bolger’s champion juvenile Teofilo has been well supported for the first Irish Classic of the season and could then turn out in the Investec Derby at Epsom the following Saturday.
“I’d have gone for the Newmarket Guineas. That was the plan initially but the ground was not suitable,” said Bolger.
“We have only one week between the races (Irish Guineas and Investec Derby) so we will have to see how he comes out of it.
“But he is a fairly hardy horse and I am expecting him to be fine after his run at the Curragh.
“I hope he wins at the Curragh. I think he is good enough to win a Classic – I would not mind if it was on Saturday.
“He will really come into his own when he gets 10 furlongs and a mile and a half. He is the first foal of the dam.
“I shouldn’t have huge expectations but he is already a Group One winner. I hope he can build on Saturday’s run.
“I am very keen to get him to Epsom – if I thought the horse was well, I’d give it a go.”
Parish Hall may have missed Newmarket, but four of the 11 participants on Saturday did line up on the Rowley Mile.
The horse who finished furthest forward was French raider Hermival, who got within two and a half lengths of Derby favourite Camelot.
One place back in fourth was Richard Hannon’s Craven Stakes winner Trumpet Major.
Hannon feels the likely fast conditions this weekend will play to his colt’s strengths.
“We have always thought Trumpet Major was a good ground horse,” Hannon told his website www.richardhannonracing.tv.
“He got away with soft ground in the Craven Stakes, but Hughesie (Richard Hughes) felt that similar conditions in the Guineas at Newmarket blunted his speed, so in the circumstances he ran a stormer to finish fourth, having looked the winner in the Dip.
“He did a nice piece of work with Hughesie at Everleigh on Tuesday, and, though it again looks very competitive, we have no Camelot to worry about.
“With the ground having dried up, he’ll hopefully be right there again at the finish.”
One of the biggest disappointments at Newmarket was the John Oxx-trained Born To Sea, who pulled very hard in the early stages and came home a well-beaten 12th.
The Currabeg trainer hopes the application of headgear will help the half-brother to the legendary Sea The Stars settle better.
“He’s been working away since Newmarket and going nicely,” said Oxx.
“The race will have done him good, it will hopefully have knocked all the freshness out of him.
“He was ever so keen and he’d lost his chance after two furlongs.
“He’s been blossoming since, though, and the bit of nice weather has helped — he’ll like the better ground.
“The hood should help him settle, it has done at home anyway.
“The hood is just a step up from earplugs.”
With Johnny Murtagh riding stablemate Takar for his boss, the Aga Khan, Pat Smullen partners Born To Sea.
He told At The Races: “I’m delighted to be asked to ride him.
“Obviously he’s a high-profile horse – he ran very keen and fresh in Newmarket, but I sat on him on Tuesday morning and he worked nicely and settled well.
“If he does that on Saturday, he could run very well.
“He’s not a slow horse – he’s got plenty of pace – and if he settles I think he will run a good race.
“It’s a great opportunity to get a ride like this and hopefully he will go well on Saturday.”
Takar was very impressive in the Listed Tetrarch Stakes at the Curragh earlier this month and Oxx is looking forward to testing the colt’s powers at a higher level.
He said: “The race he won wasn’t as strong as it has been in previous years so we’re in the dark as to how good he is – this should tell us.
“The conditions were tough that day but he quickened up really well.
“He was just ready for a race so I was pleased with how he did it.
“He’ll have to improve a good deal to figure, but we hope he can.
“We dont know how good either of them are and there’s a chance if things go well this will tell us.”
Aidan O’Brien is bidding for an eighth victory in the race and a fourth triumph in the last five runnings.
The trainer’s son, Joseph, gets the leg-up on Power, who was a leading juvenile but trailed home 17th in the Newmarket Guineas.
“He seems in good form and I’m looking forward to riding him,” said the jockey.
“There were a couple of things in Newmarket that didn’t go 100% for him but we’ve been happy with him at home since and hopefully he’ll step up on that first run.
“On last year’s form, he probably has some of the best form in the race.
“He’s a Group One winner and was a bit unlucky behind Parish Hall in the Dewhurst, so hopefully he can run a big race.”
Team Ballydoyle have three more representatives in Wrote, Daddy Long Legs and Reply.
Wrote comes back in distance after he was a beaten favourite in the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial.
UAE Derby winner Daddy Long Legs was pulled in the Kentucky Derby last time.
Reply makes his first appearance since finishing a close third in October’s Middle Park Stakes.
“I definitely wouldn’t write off any of the horses. We have four in it and I think they all have a big shout,” O’Brien jnr said.
Outsiders Alkazim and Foxtrot Romeo complete the line-up.
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