Author: Alan Kelly
Published: 09:35 25/05/2013
After the withdrawal of the Aidan O'Brien-trained Cristoforo Colombo at the final declaration stage for today's Tattersalls Irish 2000 Guineas bookmakers were quick to install stablemate Magician as the new 11-4 favourite for Ireland's first Classic of the season. Whether the son of Galileo warrents being quoted at such a short price is open to question despite the colt's impressive victory in Chester's Dee Stakes earlier this month.
Joseph O'Brien's mount will be dropping back over two furlongs at the Curragh and, along with fellow rival - the Dante runner-up Trading Places, it is debatable as to whether either colt will be as effective over the shorter trip. The best form in the race is had by the Richard Hannon-trained Van Der Neer who finished his two-year-old career with an excellent second to the sidelined Kingsbarns in Doncaster's Racing Post Trophy before pipping his more fancied stable companion Toronado for third spot in this year's Qipco 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.
The son of Dutch Art looked to be crying out for a longer trip at Newmarket and may also find the Curragh's mile a little on the sharp side, with connections initially targeting next week's Epsom Derby before having a change of heart. Fort Knox and Havana Gold are both capable of running well but make little appeal at odds of 8-1 and 15-2 respectively but one horse who looks overpriced at 9-1 with Skybet is another Aidan O'Brien inmate in Gale Force Ten.
The Oasis Dream colt was a decent two-year-old finishing runner-up in Royal Ascot's Norfolk Stakes and a close third in Newmarket's Group 1 Middle Park Stakes and got his three-year-old campaign off to a winning start at Dundalk before a trip to France for their 2000 Guineas in which he ran a stormer in fourth beaten only a length by the classy Style Vendome, with Havana Gold one place back in fifth.
Gale Force Ten comes from a family with plenty of speed yet has more than proved his ability over a mile and can surprise some better fancied rivals by giving jockey Seamie Heffernan his first victory in the Irish Classic.