First run in 1921, The Irish 2000Gns has been dominated by Aidan O’Brien who has won the Classic an amazing eleven times, and indeed has hit the back of the net eight times in the last ten renewals. Nine animals have brought off the Newmarket and Curragh 2000Gns double, including the O’Brien trained Churchill last year, but with this year’s Newmarket Hero, Saxon Warrior, staying in his box we won’t be seeing a tenth this weekend. However, the Master Of Ballydoyle, with five declared runners at the time of writing, holds his usual strong hand, and while it is dangerous to ever ignore a contender from the yard, the two to concentrate on appear to be Gustav Klimt and US Navy Flag.
Gustav Klimt was disappointing in The 2000Gns, finishing 6th, 3 3/4L behind his impressive winning stablemate, Saxon Warrior, but in his previous race, The Leopardstown 2000Gns Trial, he had impressed when beating Saturday’s opponent, Imaging, by a comfortable 1 3/4L, and he had also done well to overcome difficulties to win last year’s Group2 Superlative Stakes at Newmarket. (7f Gd/Fm). He is a real Blue Blood, by Galileo out of The Danehill mare Massarra,(a cross much favoured by Coolmore) and his Grand dam, Rafha, has produced the two outstanding Stallions, Invincible Spirit and Kodiac so a victory in Saturday’s Classic would certainly hugely enhance Gustav Klimt’s value and guarantee his future as a stallion.
US Navy Flag’s record of 4 wins from 12 starts, isn’t that impressive at first glance, but two of them were achieved at the top level last Autumn, when he won the 6f Middlepark and the 7f Dewhurst both at Newmarket. He was always in command in the latter, making all, and staying on strongly, to beat his stablemate, Mendelssohn by 2 1/2L, but then disappointed badly three weeks later, when attempting similar tactics in The Breeders Cup Juvenile on Dirt (1m100yds). Well beaten behind Gustav Klimt at Leopardstown on his reappearance he was more convincing next time in The French 2000Gns when leading inside the 3f marker he stumbled badly, but regaining his balance kept on but was headed over 1f out, and faded into 5th place. This was a decent effort in the circumstances, and it won’t surprise if this son of Warfront, whose dam, Misty For Me won four times at the top level including the Irish 1000Gns in 2011, is involved at the business end at the weekend.
The Dermot Weld trained Imaging, having been put in his place by Gustav Klimt at Leopardstown, was quite impressive next time when winning the 7f Listed Tetrarch Stakes at Naas on better ground. Short of space from 1f out, and denied a clear run, he quickened well between horses to win going away by 3/4L from Would Be King. By Oasis Dream, out of a mare who was a Listed winner at 1m2f, Imaging will be well suited by the step back up to a mile and is considered.
James A Stack, (Fozzy) is the son of Tommy, who steered the Immortal Red Rum to his third Aintree victory and would love to make his own bit of racing history with his rapidly improving son of Choisir, Zihba, on Saturday. A winner of his only start as a 2yo,(Dundalk AW Maiden) he won again at the same venue on his reappearance, but there was little to suggest that we had seen a future Classic winner. However 51 days later he took a giant step forward when winning The Group3 Amethyst Stakes at Leopardstown. He took it up inside the final furlong, and kept on well to win by 1 1/2L. Further progress will be required to get involved on Saturday, but this son of Choisir, out of a Galileo mare, is clearly improving at a rate of knots.
Our selection for the Newmarket 2000Gns, Elarqam was a little disappointing in only finishing 4th but his hugely talented trainer was not dismayed feeling that his inexperience and freshness hadn’t helped his cause. He did suffer some slight interference, and seemed to hesitate coming out of Newmarket’s Dip, but then ran on again. He had been impressive in both starts prior to the 2000Gns, particularly in the Group3 Tattersalls Stakes last September where he beat the subsequent 2000Gns runner up Tip Two Win by 2 1/2L. The son of Frankel is out of the wonderful mare Attraction who can count victory in the Irish 1000Gns in 2004 amongst her five top level success’s, and with The Mark Johnston operation firing in the winners, Elarqam looks the one to beat.
EW. : Imaging