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Curragh gold rush


Galileo Gold (PA)

Galileo Gold (PA)

Galileo Gold (PA)

Both the winner of the English 2,000 Guineas and 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket have stood their ground for this weekends Irish equivalent at the Curagh on what promises to be a fascinating weekend of Irish racing.

While Galileo Gold is a definite runner in Saturday's Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas, Aidan O'Brien will decide later in the week whether or not Minding will bid for the Guineas double on Sunday with the Newmarket runner-up, Balldoyle, a more likely candidate in the fillies' Classic for O'Brien.

Speaking yesterday, trainer Hugo Palmer was extremely excited about returning to the Curragh with a colt that he has always held in high regard and didn't let him down last time at Newmarket.

"Galileo Gold has been without fault since the Newmarket 2,000 Guineas," Palmer said. "His work has been exceptional, as it always is, and he looks bigger, stronger and better and all the signs are that he has actually improved for his run in Newmarket. I'm very happy with him."

Palmer is hoping to snare a second Irish Classic in as many seasons as last season his first-ever runner on the track resulted in a victory for Covert Love, who won the Irish Oaks under Pat Smullen.

"The Irish 2,000 Guineas is a hugely prestigious race and we are very excited to be going there and to be going there with, what I hope, is a favourite's chance. The Curragh has been a happy hunting ground for me and I hope it will be again. Galileo Gold has to go to the Curragh in exactly the same form, or maybe even better form, than he was at Newmarket and I hope he is."

O'Brien will keep an eye on the weather, with rain forecast at the track on Thursday and Friday before he confrims his running plans for the weekend, but his hope is to run the highly-regarded Air Force Blue on Saturday. Despite leaving in Sunday's impressive French 2,000 Guinas winner, The Gurkha, the horse looks a very unlikely runner.

O'Brien said: "We would love to run Air Force Blue if we got a bit of nice ground. We are happy with him since Newmarket and we would love to go there with him. We have tweaked a few things in his training and we are happy with him so far.

"We will take a look at things on Wednesday and the amount of rain the Curragh gets will be a factor on what runs. Newmarket was a first run of the season for Air Vice Marshall so hopefully he will come on for that and Shogun is a possible also.

"Shogun ran well in the Derrinstown Derby Trial and he is a horse we think is going to improve with racing, so we'll decided closer to the weekend with him.

"The Gurkha obviously only ran last week and we've left him in but more than likely he probably won't run."

Adrian Keatley supplemented his 1,000 Guineas Trial winner Jet Setting to Sunday's race while the Tattersalls Gold Cup promises to be a good one with Found, Fascinating Rock and The Grey Gatsby all included.