Siskin heads a final field of 11 declared for the Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas at the Curragh on Friday.
The unbeaten Ger Lyons-trained colt will be the headline act after picking up two Group wins as a juvenile last season.
Aidan O’Brien leads the opposition with a team of six – Armory, Fort Myers, Lope Y Fernandez, Monarch Of Egypt, Royal Lytham and Vatican City.
It’s Armory however who might the be the best of the lot from the Ballydoyle Brigade.
1 ARMORY (AIDAN O’BRIEN)
The first of six-runners for Aidan O’Brien and surprisingly Armory is rated one-pound lower than stable-mates, Monarch Of Egypt and Royal Lytham which holds him in good stead. The son of Galileo broke his maiden at the Curragh last June before victories in the Tyros Stakes and Futurity Stakes later in the summer. He found Pinatubo too good in the National Stakes and finished behind Victor Ludorum and Alson last October in Paris. He is a serious contender to Siskin given the company he has raced in and will have no issues over the one-mile trip or any ground conditions.
2 FISCAL RULES (JIM BOLGER)
Fiscal Rules will start for Jim Bolger despite only having only one start on the racetrack last season. In that race, he finished second, beaten by a head behind Aidan O’Brien’s Wichita at the Curragh last August who finished second in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket last weekend. He’ll need a big leap in improvement if he’s to be among the placegetters here though.
3 FORT MYERS (AIDAN O’BRIEN)
It was a roller coaster juvenile season for Fort Myers. We first got a look at him after maiden success on debut at Dundalk, followed by a fine win in the listed Star Appeal Stakes in October. He then finished behind Siskin and Lope Y Fernandeez last season but was only beaten under three lengths in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. He looks likely to be among the pacesetters and could cause a surprise to secure a place if finding plenty at the business end.
4 FREE SOLO (JESSICA HARRINGTON)
If you’re looking for an inform trainer to back, then look no further than Jessica Harrington who has had a huge week with winners. While Free Solo will find the going tough in the Irish 2000 Guineas, he’s had some great runs which will hold him in good stead. A place here would be a great result.
5 LOPE Y FERNANDEZ (AIDAN O’BRIEN)
The very lightly raced Lope Y Fernandez has had five career starts as a two-year-old but was impressive on debut at Curragh where he broke his maiden. He finished behind Pinatubo twice, firstly in the Chesham at Royal Ascot, and secondly in the Vintage Stakes at Goodwood last summer. He’ll be running over the one-mile trip for the first time.
6 MONARCH OF EGYPT (AIDAN O’BRIEN)
Known as the son of American Pharaoh – Monarch of Egypt is yet another Ballydoyle challenger who cost $750,000 at the Keeneland yearling sales in 2018 and landed his maiden in good fashion on debut at Naas last April. He has since finished behind Siskin twice before disappointing runs at Newmarket last September and October. Like a few others in this race, he is yet to race over the one-mile trip yet.
7 REBEL TALE (ANDREW SLATTERY)
Certainly an outside contender coming into this race, but it would be a nice story if Andrew Slattery and Pat Garvey could win this Classic with Rebel Tale with young Ben Coen atop. His two best runs came later in his juvenile season when second to Armory in the Futurity Stakes and fourth in the Champions Juvenile Stakes at Leopardstown when fourth behind Mogul.
8 ROYAL LYTHAM (AIDAN O’BRIEN)
Aidan O’Brien has decided to use blinkers on Royal Lytham for the first time with the horse hoping to follow in the footsteps of his sire, Gleneagles by winning this classic. He has not raced beyond six-furlong yet, having won his maiden at Navan on debut before securing the July Stakes at Newmarket last year. He was only beaten a length behind Siskin in the Phoenix Stakes and looks an interesting challenger.
9 SINAWANN (MICHAEL HALFORD)
His sire Kingman was a winner of the Irish 2000 Guineas, so Sinnawann will be hoping to repeat history. The Michael Halford trained runner will have no issues with the trip having won his maiden over course and distance last August and bodes as a strong chance given he finished ahead of Rebel Tale and this week’s Derrinstown winner Cormorant at Leopardstown last September.
10 SISKIN (GER LYONS)
This looks like Siskin’s race to lose on paper. The headline act who won four races from four starts last season looks primed to take out the Irish 2000 Guineas on Friday for trainer Ger Lyons with Colin Keane on board. This horse has looked like a star from debut and that thought line hasn’t deviated. After an easy win on debut at Naas, Siskin has since gone on to win listed Marble Hill, Group 2 glory in the Railway, before landing a Group 1 prize in the Phoenix Stakes. The only query on Siskin is that he hasn’t pushed beyond six furlongs in his career yet – which poses the only question; can he make the trip? On two-year-old form, this is the one to beat.
11 VATICAN CITY (AIDAN O’BRIEN)
Another out of the Ballydoyle Brigade, Vatican City will certainly appreciate a step up in distance this season. He claimed his maiden in easy fashion at Dundalk last October and looks a serious dark-horse before a possible pursuit at top middle-distance races later this season.
1 – Siskin
2 – Armory
3 – Lope Y Fernandez