The Irish 2,000 Guineas may lack the prestige of the English equivalent, but remains a contest of the highest quality and often features horses that ran in the Newmarket Classic (3.20pm Saturday, Curragh).
The same is true this year, with Kingman, Shifting Star and War Command, who finished second, fourth and ninth respectively at Newmarket three weeks ago, once again in opposition.
Kingman (8/11) has been all the rage for this, despite losing his unbeaten record to 40/1 outsider Night Of Thunder at Newmarket. He had previously beaten the same horse by 4½ lengths in the Greenham Stakes, over seven furlongs, at Newbury so, while he appears to have nothing to fear from Shifting Star (8/1) or War Command (7/1), stamina could once again be an issue.
He was only beaten half a length at Newmarket, so it would be unfair to say that he didn’t stay but, being by a Haydock Sprint Cup winner, he may ultimately prove best at distances short of a mile. The galloping, testing track at the Curragh will certainly expose any stamina weaknesses and he looks worth taking on at the odds on offer.
Aidan O’Brien makes life difficult by saddling five, but War Command, due to be ridden by his son Joseph, appears to be his first string. According to Joseph O’Brien, last year’s Dewhurst Stakes winner raced quite lazily through the race at Newmarket and connections resort to cheekpieces in an effort to sharpen him up. He was only beaten 5¼ lengths at Newmarket and is officially rated just 1lb inferior to Kingman so, if the headgear has the desired effect, he looks far from a forlorn hope. On the downside, he, too, has his stamina to prove over a mile and his trainer has expressed reservations about his effectiveness on soft ground.
Mustajeeb (13/2) is 3lb worse off for the three lengths he finished behind comfortable winner War Command in the Futurity Stakes, over seven furlongs, at the Curragh last August. He was a comfortable winner over a mile on his reappearance at Leopardstown earlier this month. That success came on yielding to soft going but, while he should be suited by underfoot conditions at the Curragh, it’s debatable if his form is good enough to win at the highest level.
Big Time (25/1) finished half a length ahead of War Command in the Phoenix Stakes, over six furlongs, at the Curragh last August, so looks overpriced if fit and ready to do himself justice after an absence of 286 days. He won on his racecourse debut, on yielding to soft going, at Naas last May, so may not take much getting ready and has enough stamina in the bottom half of his pedigree to suggest that he’ll be equally effective over an extra two furlongs.
With rain forecast for County Kildare for the rest of the week and slight doubts about Kingman, Mustajeeb and War Command, for one reason or another, our betting tips advice is to have an each-way bet on BIG TIME at a best-priced 25/1 with Ladbrokes, Coral or SkyBet.