Sport Horse Racing

Saturday 24 March 2018

Prendergast hoping for express delivery

Keith Hamer and Tom Peacock

Kevin Prendergast is looking to Dunboyne Express in his quest for a second success in the Abu Dhabi Irish 2000 Guineas at the Curragh on Saturday.

It is 36 years since Northern Treasure lifted the colts' Classic at the home of Irish Flat racing for the County Kildare trainer.

But the 78-year-old has a strong candidate in Dunboyne Express, who warmed up for glory by winning a three-runner affair for the Leopardstown 2,000 Guineas Trial with the minimum of fuss on his reappearance in March.

The Shamardal colt had lost his 100% record when fifth to Casamento in the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster in October on unsuitably firm ground when he was not quite pleasing his trainer.

"We've had no interruptions whatsoever and he's in good shape," Prendergast told At The Races.

"He did his last bit of work this morning and all the signs are right."

Prendergast believes Dubawi Gold, who was second nest behind the mighty Frankel in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket, is the main danger.

"Frankel is in another parish to most horses. Dubawi Gold ran very well at Newmarket to finish second to him and he's the one we all have to beat," he went on.

A tilt at the Investec Derby at Epsom beckons should Dunboyne Express finish in the money at the weekend.

"His pedigree on his dam's side said he should get a mile and a half and his style of working and racing says the same bit, we've got to get by the mile first on Saturday," Prendergast said.

"If he runs in the first three hopefully we'll go to Epsom."

Connections of Dubawi Gold are understandably in confident mood as their colt prepares for another shot at Classic glory.

Owner Andrew Tinkler was prepared to supplement his colt for the Curragh event after his highly respectable second to Frankel at Newmarket and he was quickly installed as favourite by the bookmakers.

Although Dubawi Gold showed plenty of good form for Michael Dods last year, he has thrived since moving to Richard Hannon this season and won two Listed races at Lingfield before his 2000 Guineas effort.

"He's absolutely spot-on," said Tim Jones, Tinkler's racing manager.

"He did a nice piece of work at the weekend and Richard is very happy with him.

"It's all systems go and he will probably travel over to Ireland on Thursday.

"There are some really interesting horses in the race - Dunboyne Express is a decent horse and Aidan O'Brien has his usual smattering of entries.

"We won't be taking any of them lightly but his Guineas run was a very solid effort and we feel he goes there as a worthy favourite."

Tinkler has another entry in the race through the Dods-trained Ashva, who was fifth of six in last week's Dante at York.

But Jones explained: "The system in Ireland is slightly different in that you have to forfeit horses rather than confirm them at the five-day stage.

"We're not being clever and having him in there as a pacemaker - it's very unlikely he'll be running."

The only other British-trained runner will be Stan Moore's Slim Shadey, who finished fourth at Newmarket at 200-1.

Moore feels his colt can only improve as the year goes on and feels he will stay further than a mile in time.

"It was fantastic (at Newmarket). He finished fourth and we thought he'd run a great race to be fifth or sixth," he told his website.

"It was a proper Guineas with a lot of good horses in it and he put in a great performance and he'll improve for it.

"The Curragh will really suit him as it's pretty stiff and I think he'll definitely stay a mile and a quarter (later on).

"He's in great form and he has been working fantastic. I'm looking forward to it."

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