Canford Cliffs and Xtension among 20 entries for the Abu Dhabi Irish 2,000 Guineas at the Curragh.
THE Abu Dhabi Irish 2,000 Guineas is the highlight of a fascinating opening days racing at the Curragh next weekend and Saturdays Group 1 contest has a top class line-up with Canford Cliffs and Xtension, third and fourth respectively behind Makfi in the Newmarket equivalent at the beginning of the month, set to do battle again.
The pair, who were only separated by a length on that occasion and had Fencing Master (seventh) and Viscount Nelson (11th) in arrears, top the list of 20 entries for the first Classic of the season. Apart from Viscount Nelson and Fencing Master, leading trainer Aidan O Brien has also entered Air Chief Marshall, Dynasty, Encompassing, Fighting Brave, Jan Vermeer, Purple Heart and Steinbeck who has been installed as 2 / 1 favourite by Ladbrokes who also go 3 /1 Canford Cliffs, 4 / 1 Xtension, 6 /1 Keredari, 7 / 1 Noll Wallop and 8 / 1 bar
Trainer Peter Chapple-Hyam is two handed with Morana and Zaahy, while Jim Bolger can choose between Carraiglawn, Free Judgement and Shintoh. Tommy Stack, who has a blistering start to the Flat season has entered Nol Wollop. The latter was most impressive when beating Viscount Nelson and Famous Warrior in the Leopardstown 2,000 Guineas Trial Stakes back in March and is held in high regard by his connections. Another highly regarded colt is Keredari who is the sole entrant from the John Oxx stable.
Air Chief Marshall also appears among the 17 entries for the Group 3 Weatherbys Ireland Greenlands Stakes in which race his trainer Aidan O Brien has also represented by Alfred Nobel. The race has attracted a strong overseas challenge with Jimmy Styles, Hitchens, Markab, Regal Parade and Wi Dud all intended runners. Duff, Rain Delayed, Snaefell and supplementary entry Kitty Kiernan are other very interesting entries for the six furlong contest.
Annabelles Charm, Shamwan Lodge and Super Sleuth are the three overseas challengers among the 10 entries for the Group 3 TRI Equestrian Stakes. The home team is headed by course winner Pollen, Enchanted Evening, Choose Me and Latin Love. The Listed T P Waters EBF Marble Hill Stakes looks a very strong race on paper with seven of the eight declared juveniles having already won this season. Aidan O Brien holds a strong hand here with Samuel Morse and So Stylish, who both made winning debuts for the Ballydoyle yard.
The ground at the Curragh is currently good to firm on the round course and good on the straight course.
Horse Racing Ireland have organised an Abu Dhabi Irish Guineas Festival preview media visit to the Curragh based stable of Paul Deegan tomorrow morning at 10.30am. He will be hoping for his first Classic winner when he is represented in the Etihad Airways Irish 1000 Guineas by Lady Springbank. Please contact Tamso Doyle, PR Manager Horse Racing Ireland, on 087 2936357 for further details.
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