Guineas hero Gleneagles heads stellar Curragh cast
Gleneagles will start at prohibitive odds to emulate his superlative 2,000 Guineas victory and give Aidan O'Brien a remarkable 10th win in Saturday's Irish edition on what promises to be an exceptional weekend of activity at the Curragh.
Sixteen names have gone forward for the domestic Classic, with Newmarket third Ivawood poised to represent Richard Hannon in the €300,000 mile contest, though the stable's Estidhkaar was ruled out following a dirty scope.
At 9/2 with Paddy Power, Ivawood is the only horse trading at single-figure odds, as last year's Roger Varian-trained Dewhurst hero Belardo is a 14/1 shot behind Gleneagles, the firm's 2/5 favourite for the Tattersalls-sponsored Group One.
O'Brien, who has seven entered in total, is the sole home-based trainer to win the Irish 2,000 Guineas since his predecessor and namesake Vincent last did so with Prince Of Birds in 1988.
Dermot Weld, who scored with Flash Of Steel in 1986, will try to redress that balance with Khalid Abdullah's Tombelaine, which denied Ger Lyons' Endless Drama in a Curragh Listed race earlier in the month. Endless Drama, Convergence and Cappella Sansevero could all line out for Lyons.
On all known form, though, Gleneagles will be a formidable opponent.
With Clive Brittain's 2013 Irish 1,000 Guineas and 2014 Coronation Stakes heroine Rizeena engaged in the Lanwades Stud Stakes and Eddie Lynam's Sole Power given the option of the Greenlands Stakes alongside that of Haydock's Temple Stakes, Saturday's card promises plenty, as does Sunday's.
In the Airlie Stud Gallinule Stakes, Giovanni Canaletto will strive to boost O'Brien's hopes of a fourth successive Derby next month, while Found is a 9/4 market leader to atone for her reappearance defeat in the 1,000 Guineas.
Leopardstown winner Kissed By Angels is among four other Ballydoyle entries for the 1,000 Guineas, and Willie McCreery has sanctioned the €30,000 supplementary of Godolphin's Devonshire, which was second to Kissed By Angels in that Group Three.
Jessica Harrington's Bocca Baciata and Jim Bolger's Pleascach are also among 21 in the fillies' event, though Legatissimo and Lucida, first and second at Newmarket, were scratched.
Mick Halford's Raydara is also an intended starter, so there should be plenty of competition.
The same can be said of the Tattersalls Gold Cup, a race that is in danger of losing its Group One status after a raft of one-sided or sub-par renewals.
The €250,000 10-furlong event could feature the reappearance of Weld's deeply exciting four-year-old Free Eagle (7/4 favourite), with the stable's Fascinating Rock also engaged.
Last year's leading Kevin Ryan-trained three-year-old The Grey Gatsby and Roger Charlton's rejuvenated 2013 winner Al Kazeem are other marquee names pencilled in. Unusually, there is no Ballydoyle contender among the 10 entries for the race.
Meanwhile, Michael Hussey has had the 14-day ban that he received for failing to obtain the best possible position on My Painter at the Curragh on May 4 reduced to eight days on appeal.
My Painter finished second, with Hussey claiming to have not seen the eventual winner Bobby Jean on the far side of the track.