The Curragh: Irish 2,000 Guineas Preview, Horses, Picks

May 24th, 2024

It’s pretty difficult to see Ireland’s first classic of 2024 as anything but a Richard Hannon versus Aidan O’Brien contest – one in which a Breeders’ Cup contest is a valuable guide.

Rest of the World Money Back $10

Opt-in to receive up to $10 back on your first single horse Win bet if your horse runs 2nd in selected international races in May.

Selected International Races:

  • Friday, May 24th, 2024: The Curragh (IRE) - All Eligible Races
  • Saturday, May 25th, 2024: The Curragh (IRE) - All Eligible Races
  • Sunday, May 26th, 2024: The Curragh (IRE) - All Eligible Races

The Curragh Race 5 Selections

  • #5 River Tiber
  • #6 Rosallion
  • #3 Haatem
  • #8 Unquestionable

The Curragh Race 5 Wagers

  • $10 win/$30 show: #5 River Tiber
  • $3 trifecta6 with 3, 5, 8 with 3, 4, 5, 8
  • $2 trifecta: 5 with 6, 8 with 3, 4, 6, 8

Bonus Play – Race 3, Greenlands Stakes (G2), 6 furlongs

  • $10 win/$20 show, #7 Shouldvebeenaring: Hannon’s colt just missed at Group 2 level at York May 15 and can win this provided he’s backed up adequately in nine days.

Irish 2000 Guineas Analysis

Just eight horses are left in the one-mile clash at The Curragh. Five come from the stables of the aforementioned trainers, and they are likely to take the top five positions in the betting.

Interestingly, all three of O’Brien’s runners trekked to Santa Anita for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) last November. #5 River Tiber was rated the stable number one following his Royal Ascot triumph in the Coventry (G2) and Group 1 placings in both France and England, only to be ruled out of the race on vet’s advice.

In River Tiber’s absence, #8 Unquestionable justified favoritism after taking advantage of a good start and a ground-saving trip for stable jockey Ryan Moore, while stable companion #4 Mountain Bear, who missed the start, rallied strongly to take second, 1 1/2 lengths back.

It says a fair bit that despite this victory, Moore’s mount at The Curragh will be River Tiber – whom he would have ridden at Santa Anita but for the scratch – and not Unquestionable. Not surprisingly given this, early markets have River Tiber as the most favored of the O’Brien trio.

However, chances are he won’t start the race favorite. Both Hannon’s horses, #6 Rosallion and #3 Haatem, enter the race after strong efforts in England’s 2000 Guineas (G1) at Newmarket May 4. Rosallion showed a strong turn of foot before being run down by unbeaten Godolphin colt Notable Speech (absent from this race), while Haatem stuck on gamely at one pace for third, 1 3/4 lengths behind his stablemate.

Both Hannon’s horses have winning form over O’Brien runners here as juveniles as well. Rosallion beat Unquestionable by a comfortable length when winning the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere (G1), while Haatem beat Mountain Bear into third in the Vintage (G2) at Goodwood.

The other three runners – #1 Atlantic Coast, #2 Bright Stripes, and #7 Take Me To Church – don’t have the same form profiles and victory would be a surprise.

On form, Rosallion is the horse to beat, with the biggest threat likely to be River Tiber. The latter has a bit to find on exposed performances but he hasn’t raced past six furlongs and his pedigree (he’s by Unquestionable’s sire Wootton Bassett) suggests he may improve at a mile.

With Rosallion quite possibly at short odds, this could be a rare Irish classic where there’s a little bit of value in an Aidan O’Brien runner, so River Tiber may be the one to focus on – especially given the TwinSpires Rest of the World Bet Back offer, where those who opt in can get up to $10 on a win bet back if their horse finishes second.