Irish 2000 Guineas Day | Storm brewing in the Ocean

Irish 2000 Guineas

After a few blockbuster weeks filled with plenty of columns, we are back to regular scheduled viewing with Irish 2000 Guineas Day this weekend.

Saying that, today’s action would excite even the most pessimistic horse racing fan as there’s something for everyone.

With a Classic card over in Ireland, competitive racing in Haydock, and interesting contests at both York and Goodwood, what’s not to like?

So, with this in mind, let’s highlight a few bets for Saturday’s mouth-watering action.


1:30 Goodwood – Al Shabab Storm @ 9/2 with William Hill – 1pt Win

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Al Shabab Storm was unlucky not to land the spoils for the column at Chester on his last start, and I don’t want to ditch him here in the opener at Goodwood.

A few things are different today compared to Chester as this is a Class 2 handicap and over seven furlongs, but the three-year-old by Advertise came close to winning over this distance at Newmarket in September and he’s run well in Listed company before.

Looking back on the Chester run, he put in some effort despite not winning as he raced out the back for a while and Oisin Murphy made the decision to pull him out to give him a clear view at the line.

In my mind, Murphy did this as he knew the ability he had underneath him, but this resulted in him coming six-wide into the home straight while the winner had a nice route up the rail.

A reproduction of that run would see him go close here, and a mark of 90 still looks workable.


1:50 Haydock – Flora Of Bermuda @ 16/1 with William Hill (3 places) – 1pt EW

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Backing three-year-old sprinters immediately after their juvenile campaign is always a brave game, but the angle with Flora Of Bermuda is one I can’t ignore.

The Dark Angel was a sharp filly last year as she nearly won on debut and then finished sixth in the Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot; she was on the wrong side of the track that day but still finished first of her group.

That race is a solid piece of form as the winner, Crimson Advocate, finished sixth behind Big Evs in the Group 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint and the second, Relief Rally, won the Group 2 Lowther Stakes subsequently.

Speaking of Big Evs, Andrew Balding’s £340,000 purchase was second to the globetrotting superstar in the Group 2 Flying Childers Stakes at Doncaster in September.

However, it’s Flora Of Bermuda’s win at Goodwood in August that has caught my attention the most.

On that day, she bolted up over five furlongs on soft ground on the same day that Big Evs won the Group 3 Molecomb Stakes.

She carried one pound less than Michael Appleby’s stable star, but her final two furlongs were quicker than that of Big Evs and the overall race times were almost identical.

This occurred on a day when the ground was constantly worsening due to persistent rain as well.

Overall, 16/1 looks like a huge price for her in the Group 2 Temple Stakes for all the reasons above.


2:30 Curragh – Ocean Quest @ 12/1 with William Hill (4 places) – 1pt EW

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One yard that is in red-hot form currently is the Jessica Harrington team, and I’m hoping Ocean Quest can continue that trend in the Group 2 Greenlands Stakes.

Firstly, I think an important point to highlight is the ground conditions at the Curragh as the official going is good which places an element of doubt over the favourite, the Curragh specialist Art Power.

Of his nine career successes, only two have come on good ground and his best recent form has occurred on a slightly slower surface.

As for Ocean Quest, although she won on heavy at the start of last season, that success was a weird run as the two Aidan O’Brien horses didn’t fire and connections have pulled her from two separate races due to heavy ground.

Last season, she finished a good fourth in the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup behind Shaquille and Little Big Bear (a strong piece of form) and then bolted up in a Group 3 at Naas (the second won a Listed race two starts later).

Two subsequent runs on soft ground didn’t suit her, but she made an eye-catching return last month when second to Moss Tucker over five furlongs on yielding ground.

She had no clear passage last time out, though she quickened away smartly when the gap appeared and Shane Foley eased her down once he realised victory was out of the equation.

She’s likely to come on for that run and the return to six furlongs is a positive.


3:20 York – Trevaunance @ 11/1 with Sky Bet (4 places) – 1pt EW

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Finally, over at York, it’s another Jessica Harrington-trained horse that I’m taking a swing on as Trevaunance is a very interesting contender in the Group 3 Bronte Cup Fillies’ Stakes.

The five-year-old steps up to 1m6f for the first time today, and although that is an unknown, there’s not much to suggest she won’t get this new trip.

Once you get around that barrier, her chance in this company looks strong.

Out of the 2013 Group 3 Musidora Stakes winner Liber Nauticus, the five-year-old by Muhaarar has always shown ability throughout her career and she has Group 1 form in the book to boast about.

Last season, she was fourth to Mqse De Sevigne in the Group 1 Prix Jean Romanet before she finished third in the Group 2 Blanford Stakes.

Lumiere Rock and Jackie Oh, the 1-2 from the Blanford Stakes, went on to frank the form as they finished third and second respectively behind Blue Rose Cen in the Group 1 Prix de l’Opera.

Even looking back on her form from 2022 is promising as she beat Mqse De Sevigne on two occasions in France.

Harrington sending one so far for a race away from the main Flat festivals is always worth a second look, and if she takes to this extended trip, she has the form in the book to win this contest.

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