Mikel Delzangles has confirmed Hermival as an intended starter in Saturday’s Abu Dhabi Irish 2000 Guineas at the Curragh.
The three-year-old is the clear favourite for the Irish Classic with some bookmakers after running an excellent third behind Camelot in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket earlier this month.
His performance deserves even more credit as he was part of a small group of horses that raced on the far side of the Rowley Mile and Delzangles is hopeful he can show further improvement in Ireland this weekend.
“It was a very good run at Newmarket. It was only his third start and he did very well,” said the French trainer.
“Gregory (Benoist, jockey) thought it was definitely a disadvantage (being on the far side) as he had to take the lead as the other horses were a bit tired.
“He did nearly two furlongs on his own on the far side and for an inexperienced horse like him, it was a bit difficult.
“He’s definitely going to travel (to Ireland). He did his last piece of work on Monday and everything went well.
“He’s been doing very well, he recovered very quickly (after Newmarket) and I hope he’s improved a bit.
“We were debating whether to go to the Curragh or to go for the French Derby, but for now, I think he is better staying at a mile. He looks like a miler more than anything else.”
Just one place further back in fourth at Newmarket was Richard Hannon’s Craven Stakes winner Trumpet Major.
He is due to renew rivalries with Hermival this weekend and assistant trainer Richard Hannon junior is pleased to see the sun is shining in the Emerald Isle.
“The ground looks like it’s going to dry out and if he turns up the same horse as he was at Newmarket two weeks ago, he’d have to have a good chance,” Hannon junior told At The Races.
“It’s not going to be an easy race but it certainly looks like a good opportunity for him.
“He won a Group Two last year, but I didn’t think he’d win the Craven with a penalty the way he did.
“He looked for a long way as though he was going to win the Guineas, but the ground just found him out.
“He’s a very good horse and if he’s fit and well and the ground dries out, why not have a go?”
Meanwhile Mick Channon’s Samitar is the only British entry in the Etihad Airways Irish 1,000 Guineas with Sunday’s Curragh Classic dominated by Aidan O’Brien.
Wide-margin English Guineas winner Homecoming Queen heads a potential field of 14 – half of which are made up from Ballydoyle fillies.
O’Brien has managed to land this event on five previous occasions, including with Misty For Me 12 months ago.
Others in the line-up are Maybe, who lost her unbeaten record when third as a hot favourite behind Homecoming Queen, while she could be joined by After, Devotion, Ishvana, Soon and Wonderful.
Samitar was well-beaten in the French Guineas and more obvious other contenders look to be Kevin Prendergast’s Newmarket fifth La Collina and Yellow Rosebud, who was produced by Dermot Weld to win the recent trial at Leopardstown.
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