Saturday 20 January 2018

Air Force Blue to go for Gold in Curragh Classic rematch

Ryan Moore: partners Air Force Blue. Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile
Ryan Moore: partners Air Force Blue. Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile
Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

Galileo Gold and Air Force Blue remain on course to clash for a second time after both were among eight declared for tomorrow's Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas.

Hugo Palmer's decisive Newmarket winner, which will be ridden once again by Frankie Dettori, is a best priced 7/4 to become a dual Classic victor in the €300,000 mile contest.

The Ryan Moore-ridden Air Force Blue is next best in the betting at up to 11/4, with his trainer Aidan O'Brien responsible for half of the field in all.

Seamie Heffernan will be reunited with the Newmarket fourth Air Vice Marshall, while Colm O'Donoghue is booked for Shogun, with Donnacha O'Brien on Bravery.

Kevin Prendergast and Chris Hayes combine for Awtaad and Michael O'Callaghan and Colin Keane for Blue De Vega, with the Kevin Manning-ridden Sanus Per Aquam completing the line-up for Jim Bolger.

Air Force Blue proved a massive disappointment when sent off favourite at Newmarket. O'Brien has tweaked his training regime in an effort to get the three-time Group One-winning juvenile back to its best, and he will leave off the tongue-strap that was tried in the opening Classic of the campaign.

The War Front colt's participation depends on ground conditions not deteriorating too much.

After 3.4mm of rainfall yesterday morning, the going at headquarters was being given as good on the straight course and good, good to firm in places on the round course, with the forecast quite unsettled.

The Classic weekend kicks off with more mundane fare at Cork and Downpatrick this evening.

In Mallow, Aasheq, considered a potential Classic type after pushing US Army Ranger to the pin of its collar on their respective debuts at the Curragh, will strive to repair its reputation.

Dermot Weld's Hamdan Al Maktoum-owned son of Dubawi was pulverised to the tune of 26 lengths when fifth to The Gurkha at Navan.

Notwithstanding that The Gurkha is now a Classic winner, that is hardly a true reflection of Aasheq's ability, so he is fancied to make amends under Pat Smullen in tonight's mile maiden.

Weld and Smullen will also go close in the finale with Karalara, but Ballydoyle's Like A Star is preferred there.

A choicely-bred daughter of Galileo, Heffernan's mount ran a lovely race when third to Somehow on her Navan bow. The winner went on to collect in Listed company at Chester and the runner-up has also since scored, so Like A Star appeals as nap material to step forward in this 10-furlong maiden.

Across the water tonight, Colin McBratney's Marito, second to On The Fringe at Cheltenham and Punchestown, contests Stratford's Champion Hunter Chase, while McBratney and Noel McParlan also team up for Quiet Account in the novices' version.

Meanwhile, at Clonmel, the reliable old firm of Charles Byrnes and Davy Russell combined to land a touch in the maiden hurdle with the facile winner Black Warrior (9/2 - 7/2).

Irish Independent

Promoted Links

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport