Famous Classic strike for Awtaad and Kevin Prendergast at the Curragh
Published 21/05/2016 | 18:46
Awtaad justified Kevin Prendergast's high opinion of him when winning the Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas at the Curragh.
It is 40 years since Prendergast last saddled the winner of the colts' Classic with Northern Treasure and it was well worth the wait for the octogenarian handler.
Chris Hayes was always sitting pretty on the Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum-owned son of Cape Cross and kicked for home about two furlongs out.
Awtaad (9-2) galloped all the way to the line to beat Qipco 2000 Guineas hero Galileo Gold (5-4 favourite) - who had to show plenty of determination when seeking a gap on the rail - with Blue De Vega third.
Hayes said: "Unbelievable. I didn't sleep for a week. He's been flying and we've always held him in high regard.
"Mr Prendergast gave me no instructions, except don't get there too soon, which I did! I had no option. I saw Frankie (Dettori on Galileo Gold) was in a bit of bother.
"I just wanted to make it as hard as I could for him, but it wouldn't have made any difference. I'd have loved to have a lead a bit longer.
"Hopefully, it's Royal Ascot now."
He added: "He's the best horse I've ever ridden.
"This means a lot to me and Mr Prendergast has been so good to me."
Prendergast said: "He was very backward as a two-year-old, and I'd say he's as good a horse as I've had. We have a dry place at home and he worked well there, but he had won on soft so we accepted it.
"I think he's a very good horse, but how far he will go I don't know. He was forced to go a bit early today as Frankie was in a bit of bother on the inside, so he kicked and hoped for the best.
"I don't know where he will go next. The boss man (Sheikh Hamdan) makes the decision and we go along with it. The last one (Irish 2,000 Guineas) was 40 years ago, and a lot of lads weren't born then!
"He's in the (Investec) Derby and the Irish Derby, so we'll see what he wants to do. There is a good bit of stamina in the family, so who knows?"
Coral slashed Awtaad to 16-1 (from 50-1) for Epsom, with BoyleSports going 5-1 about the St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot.