Phoenix of Spain won the Tattersalls Irish 2000 Guineas at the weekend and it’s Royal Ascot next for him while Hermosa is off to Chantilly in search of more Classic glory.
The new Curragh opened to much fanfare at the weekend with the stunning new stand named in honour of His Highness the Aga Khan. The Royal famously owned Classic winners at the venue such as Sinndar and Harzand. He was in attendance himself to see the plaque being unveiled and also his odds on favourite Hazran being reeled in by a 50/1 shot in the dying strides in the final race of the weekend.
The 2000 Guineas on Saturday was billed as a match between Newmarket winner Magna Grecia and 2018 champion juvenile Too Darn Hot. Phoenix of Spain didn’t read the script and looks to have developed past those two particular rivals. Phoenix of Spain will be off to Royal Ascot next for the St James Palace Stakes, where it looks likely that Too Darn Hot and Magna Grecia will both reoppose. Were Andre Fabre to add Persian King into the mix, it would be a truly classic renewal.
Hermosa went into the history books on Sunday as a dual 1000 Guineas winner. She followed her Newmarket success with a smooth victory for Ryan Moore, giving Aidan O’Brien an eighth win in the race. Hermosa helped the Ballydoyle maestro complete a group one double on the day following Magical’s facile win in an uncompetitive Tattersalls Gold Cup.
Hermosa is off to Chantilly next for the Prix de Diane, aka the French Oaks, with Pink Dogwood leading the Ballydoyle charge at Epsom for the Oaks on Friday. Magical’s next step depends on how she comes out of the weekend’s race, with the Prince of Wales’ Stakes at Royal Ascot an obvious target. Should she not recover sufficiently for Ascot, O’Brien confirmed she will have a mid-season break before an autumn campaign. Magical would then be aimed towards Longines Irish Champions Weekend at Leopardstown , then off to Longchamp for the Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe.
In the opening race on Sunday, O’Brien launched another Royal Ascot rocket. Arizona won the opening race on Sunday in taking fashion earning him a 6/1 quote for the Coventry Stakes.