Trainer Richard Hannon has revealed his plans for a raid on the opening Classics of the Irish season at the Curragh next weekend with the leading handler set to be double-handed in the Tattersalls Irish 2000 Guineas.
Hannon has won the Irish 2000 Guineas on three previous occasions and he will have both Olympic Glory and Van Der Neer to contest the colts' feature at HQ where the ground is described as good, good to firm in places.
Olympic Glory has suffered defeat just twice in a seven-race career, the first time was in the Coventry Stakes behind Dawn Approach and then most recently, last weekend in the French 2000 Guineas at Longchamp.
Hannon said yesterday: "You can put a line through Olympic Glory's French excursion. He was drawn in the cheap seats and could never get competitive, but at least he came back without having had a hard race, so we have decided to take him to Ireland where the stiff mile should suit him."
Van Der Neer has also won all but two of his starts and both defeats came behind Irish-trained horses, firstly at Doncaster when second to Aidan O'Brien's Kingsbarns and then earlier in the month in the English 2000 Guineas behind Dawn Approach when third as the second string of Hannon's on that occasion.
"The Curragh's uphill finish should also play to the strengths of Van Der Neer, who was staying on better than anything when third to Dawn Approach in our Guineas," Hannon added.
"We walked off the stand at Newmarket thinking Van Der Neer might have earned himself a shot at the Derby, but the colt's owner, Saeed Manana, is keen to go to Ireland instead, which is fine by us, especially as Richard Hughes made the point that he had not handled the bend too well when winning at Lingfield last month."
Hannon has a couple of entries in the Irish 1000 Guineas next Sunday, including English 1000 Guineas winner Sky Lantern, but the trainer will only send over Maureen in a bid to win the race for the first time.
Maureen was just over two lengths off her stable companion Sky Lantern at Newmarket earlier in the month and Hannon added: "Maureen, who ran well to finish on the heels of the placed fillies in our 1000 Guineas, will go to the Curragh for the Irish equivalent. We have decided to take Zurigha back to France for the Prix de Sandringham at Chantilly."
Another notable horse worth keeping an eye on that is entered for the Irish 2000 Guineas is the Tommy Carmody-trained Fort Knox, who won the Leopardstown Guineas Trial and was subsequently bought by Sheikh Mohammed, becoming Carmody's first runner out of the yard he has rented from Johnny Murtagh, not owned by Englishman Andrew Tinkler.