Irish 2000 Guineas tips and runner-by-runner guide to Saturday’s 3.20 at the Curragh

Can Native Trail win a Classic at the second time of asking?


*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change

Native Trail faces eight rivals at the Curragh on Saturday as the 2000 Guineas runner-up attempts to land the Irish equivalent.

The Oasis Dream colt found Godolphin stablemate Coroebus too hot to handle at Newmarket last month as his unbeaten career record came to an end. A victory in this would complete the hat-trick of major European Guineas for Charlie Appleby after also saddling Modern Games to victory in last week’s French 2000 Guineas.


Native Trail is the hot favourite to get back to winning ways in the 3.20pm at the Curragh but Tetrarch Stakes winner Buckaroo appears to be the chief threat while Aidan O’Brien saddles Ivy League.

You’ll find Irish 2000 Guineas tips from Paddy Power’s horse racing experts and our runner-by-runner guide to the field of nine below.

Irish 2000 Guineas runners

Atomic Jones

Trainer: G. M. Lyons Jockey: C. T. Keane Age: 3 Draw: 2

Won both juvenile starts (Group 2 latterly). 11/1, 9 lengths fourth of 7 to Stone Age in Derby Trial Stakes at Leopardstown (1¼m, good to soft) on reappearance 13 days ago, unable to sustain effort. Drop back to 1m may help. Remains capable of better.


Trainer: Joseph Patrick O’Brien Jockey: Shane Crosse Age: 3 Draw: 4

Smart colt. Good short-head second of 9 to Piz Badile in Ballysax at Leopardstown (1¼m, good) on return before easily going one better in C&D listed race 19 days ago. Could be the one to follow Native Trail home.

Duke De Sessa

Trainer: D. K. Weld Jockey: Chris Hayes Age: 3 Draw: 5

Useful colt. C&D winner. 9¼ lengths fifth of 7 to Stone Age in Derby Trial Stakes (5/1) at Leopardstown (1¼m, good to soft) 13 days ago. Not sure drop back to 1m is what is needed.

Imperial Fighter

Trainer: Andrew Balding Jockey: Ben Coen Age: 3 Draw: 9

Impressed when making a winning debut at Goodwood (7f) last July and better form in defeat since, notably when chasing home Coroebus in 1m Newmarket Group 3 last autumn. Met trouble and better than result when third on AW reappearance. Place claims.

Ivy League

Trainer: Aidan O’Brien Jockey: Ryan Moore Age: 3 Draw: 3

Improving fast this spring, winning maiden/handicap before taking another step forward when 1¾ lengths second of 6 to Pretreville in Amethyst at Leopardstown (1m, good to soft) 13 days ago. Tongue strap goes on. Capable of better again.


Trainer: M. D. O’Callaghan Jockey: Leigh Roche Age: 3 Draw: 6

Course debut winner over 7f in March and stepped up on that form when 6 lengths fourth to Buckaroo in C&D listed race 19 days ago. Blinkered first time. More to come but big jolt of improvement required to get heavily involved.

Native Trail

Trainer: Charlie Appleby Jockey: William Buick Age: 3 Draw: 1

Won first 5 starts, including Group 1 National here last autumn, and if anything enhanced his reputation in defeat when going down by ¾ length to stablemate Coroebus in a strong renewal of the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket 3 weeks ago. Very hard to beat.

New Energy

Trainer: Ms Sheila Lavery Jockey: William James Lee Age: 3 Draw: 7

Course winner. Good 4 lengths third of 7 to Buckaroo in C&D listed race (good to soft, 15/2) 19 days ago, but no reason why he’ll turn the tables on Joseph O’Brien’s charge.

Wexford Native

Trainer: J. S. Bolger Jockey: Kevin Manning Age: 3 Draw: 8

Navan debut winner in March. Bettered that when 4 lengths second of 7 to Buckaroo in C&D listed (good to soft) 19 days ago. Surely has more to offer after only 2 starts. Represents last year’s winning connections.

Irish 2000 Guineas tips

Matt Chapman: This won’t take long! It really should be at the mercy of Charlie Appleby’s champion juvenile NATIVE TRAIL after his Craven success and fine second to stable companion Coroebus in the Newmarket equivalent.

Rory Delargy: There’s no getting past Native Trail. He keeps delivering and the draw was not kind to him at Newmarket. We know he goes well at the Curragh and there are no holes in him. The question is who finishes second and I think IMPERIAL FIGHTER, who has the same rating as Buckaroo and had very good form as a two-year-old, is worth playing for the forecast or each-way. He won’t win but will run well.

Mick Fitzgerald: I think the ground is the key here and the fact that there’s some rain around in Ireland will suit NATIVE TRAIL. This son of Oasis Dream did well in the circumstances in the English 2000 Guineas, finishing a very close 2nd but the slow round here will really suit. Buckaroo, representing Joseph O’Brian, is the danger. This son of Fastnet Rock is a winner over course and distance and was unlucky not to be unbeaten this season as Heathfield narrowly pipped him in the Ballysax at Leopardstown.

Paddy Power: Native Trail is obviously the most likely winner and hosed up at the Curragh last year so he clearly likes the track. However, I’m taking a chance that his defeat in the English Guineas could have left a mark on him. BUCKAROO, on the other hand, may only have won a Listed race here recently but he won like a horse on the up who is improving hand over fist.

Timeform: NATIVE TRAIL was possibly a little unlucky to lose his unbeaten record in the 2000 Guineas and can emulate Kingman in 2014 who was second at Newmarket before easily going one better here. Buckaroo was a very convincing winner in listed company here recently and can give Godolphin’s charge most to do. The fast-improving Ivy League looks best of the remainder.

Jason Weaver: Looks like the boys in blue are going to mop up all of the big mile races and this looks a great opportunity for the champion juvenile NATIVE TRAIL to get back into the winners’ enclosure. He may have most fear from Buckaroo, but the opposition will really need to find an extra leg to beat the English 2,000 runner-up on all known form.

*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change

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