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River Tiber to lead Ballydoyle team in Irish 2,000 Guineas at Curragh – The Irish Times

River Tiber looks set to be Ballydoyle’s standard bearer in Saturday’s Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas as Aidan O’Brien seeks a lucky 13th success in the first Curragh classic of the year.

The champion trainer has six of 11 entries left in the €500,000 prize after Tuesday’s final acceptance stage, including one of his top three-year-old stars, Henry Longfellow, who lost his unbeaten record in the French Guineas ago. More than a week.

While O’Brien stressed that “there is nothing set in stone yet”, he admitted that Henry Longfellow will probably not attempt to secure the stakes consolation at home and will “probably” wait for Royal Ascot’s St James’s Palace Stakes next month.

That is likely to leave the original plans unchanged with River Tiber accompanied by another Wooton Bassett colt, Unquestionable, in the featured mile.

Both horses will be making their first starts of the year and O’Brien reported that he expects River Tiber to be the further forward of the two, although his endurance over a mile is unproven.

“We believe a mile is within range, although it is not guaranteed. We just thought we’d start in Guinea and if I didn’t make it I’d go back to the Commonwealth or something. “He doesn’t lack speed,” he stated.

“Unquestionable may not be as much of a forward at River Tiber, but the plan is to start him at the Curragh to go to Ascot after that.

“He had a bit of a problem a couple of weeks ago but he’s back in full swing, but he had it, so he could improve a little bit more at the Curragh than he did at the River Tiber,” O’Brien added.

Richard Hannon looks set to give the main opposition two opportunities, Rosallion and Haatem, to emulate his father who won the Guineas on three occasions. The pair filled the frame behind Notable Speech in the Newmarket Guineas.

“At the moment the plan is for both to appear. If there is soft ground there on Saturday morning, Rosallion probably won’t race, but I’m told the worst that can happen is good ground, so we should be fine,” Hannon said.

Initial reaction in the markets included Rosallion being installed as the 7-4 favorite and River Tiber as the next best 5-2.

Those facing the big guns include Co Tyrone trainer Andy Oliver with Tetrarch winner Bright Stripes, while Jack Davison has kept open the option of running Take Me To Church, who scored in the Madrid Handicap in March.

O’Brien has four entries among the 15 in Sunday’s 1,000 Guineas after Everlasting was supplemented in the filly classic. It joins Opera Singer, Buttons and Pearls And Rubies.

Donnacha O’Brien could emerge as the biggest threat to her sire with Porta Fortuna, runner-up in the Newmarket Guineas, ready to try and improve at home. Another filly with proven classic form is Willie McCreery’s Vespertilio, third in the French Guineas at Longchamp.

Paddy Twomey may have two chances to break his classic duck having been out in both A Lilac Rolla and Purple Lily, while last year’s Moyglare heroine Fallen Angel, a beaten favorite at Newmarket, is also in the mix.

Auguste Rodin remains on track to try to bounce back from a dismal performance in Dubai by competing in the Tattersalls Gold Cup on Sunday.

Last year’s double Derby winner mixed brilliance with disaster in 2023, including terrible efforts in the 2,000 Guineas and King George. His last flop was when he was behind Rebel’s Romance at the Sheema Classic.

Okeechobee, trained by Harry Charlton, was added to Group One older horses on Tuesday. Charlton’s father Roger won the race three times with Decorated Knight (2017) and twice with Al Kazeem (2013 and 2015). Okeechobee got the Gordon Richards at Sandown on his last start.

“He is a lightly raced horse who won his Group Three and rather than return to Sandown to take a penalty we thought we would give him a chance in Group One and see where his limitations are. We’ll find out a little more about him on Sunday,” said Barry Mahon, racing director for Okeechobee owners Juddmonte.

Ground conditions at the headquarters were good and firm in places on Tuesday with prospects unsettled.

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