O'Brien eyes Curragh bonanza as Too Darn Hot gets go-ahead
A new era for the Curragh kicks off on this Guineas weekend and, not surprisingly, the O'Brien name should feature prominently throughout.
Thirteen go to post for the opening Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Maiden on a decent card this evening with €500,000 purchase Precious Moments a likely winner for Aidan O'Brien and Ryan Moore.
The feature is the Group Three Kerrygold Gallinule Stakes, a renowned Irish Derby Trial, and Joseph O'Brien's Buckhurst looks the best bet in an open looking contest.
O'Brien junior ran Buckhurst in the Derrinstown Derby Trial to give him a chance of lining up in the Epsom Derby, and while he failed to land a blow in that company, he might get back to winning ways here and book his place in the Irish Classic.
Ger Lyons also looks to have chances on the card. Siskin held tonight's rival Harpocrates at Naas a couple of weeks ago and despite expectant improvement from the Ballydoyle runner, Siskin may frank that form. Lyons has enjoyed notable success for Prince Khalid Abdullah with a small selection but Viadera has the prospects of defying top weight in the Extra.ie Spring Fillies Handicap.
Meanwhile, the big showdown is on after Magna Grecia and Too Darn Hot were among 14 declared for tomorrow's Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas.
The Classic was named as Magna Grecia's next target after he won the Newmarket equivalent for Aidan O'Brien - but Too Darn Hot's inclusion came as a late surprise just a few days ago.
The John Gosden-trained colt made his seasonal debut at York last week when second in the Dante Stakes over an extended mile and a quarter.
Too Darn Hot had to miss the Newmarket Guineas because of a setback, having been ante-post favourite all winter following a flawless juvenile campaign that saw him crowned champion European two-year-old.
Connections have taken the brave decision to run him again quickly in a bid for Classic glory, and run him over a mile for the first time since his debut at Sandown in August.
Explaining the decision to go to Ireland before the St James's Palace at Royal Ascot, Gosden said: "He has got a great constitution and he wants to race, this horse. It is a long wait from the Dante to Ascot and I thought he would get fresh and frustrated, so we decided to let him race."
As well as Magna Grecia, O'Brien calls on Globe Theatre, Mohawk, Old Glory and Van Beethoven as he seeks to add to his record 11 Irish 2,000 Guineas triumphs. The two withdrawals at the final declaration stage were Martyn Meade's Confiding and the Damian English-trained North Wind.