Irish 2000 Guineas 2016: Timeform's runner-by-runner guide

Air Force Blue is on a recovery mission in Saturday's Irish 2000 Guineas
Air Force Blue is on a recovery mission in Saturday's Irish 2000 Guineas

Timeform bring you their runner-by-runner guide to the 2016 Irish 2000 Guineas at the Curragh.

"As a commanding winner of Newmarket's 2000 Guineas - which represented yet another big step forward in terms of form - he is hard to oppose."

Irish 2000 Guineas
The Curragh
Saturday May 21, 17:40

Air Force Blue (Aidan O'Brien) - The outstanding juvenile performer last season who was beaten only once in five starts and recorded a Group 1 hat-trick on last three starts in the Phoenix Stakes and National Stakes at the Curragh and Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket. Sent off odds-on for the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket this season in a first-time tongue strap (not declared for this race) but was bitterly disappointing, lacking characteristic zest and finishing twelfth of thirteen. Ryan Moore's pick of four stablemates, but plenty to prove after that display.

Air Vice Marshal (Aidan O'Brien) - Endured a truncated two-year-old campaign, not seen after finishing one-length second to Birchwood in Superlative Stakes at Newmarket, but showed no ill-effects from that lay-off when taking form to new level on return this season with four-length fourth to Galileo Gold in 2000 Guineas at Newmarket, despite showing greenness and seemingly being unbalanced when entering the Dip. Type to do better at three and shortlisted here.

Awtaad (Kevin Prendergast) - Had this race nominated as his target after smart five-length win on handicap debut in March and coped with step up in grade when landing hat-trick in a listed race by two lengths from Blue de Vega (getting 3 lb from that rival) earlier this month. All three wins over seven furlongs but should stay a mile and remains open to improvement.

Blue De Vega (Michael O'Callaghan) - Impressive winner of Group 3 Killavullan Stakes at Leopardstown (by three and a half lengths from Tribal Beat) final start last season. Below that form when two-length second to Awtaad in listed race at the Curragh on reappearance (giving 3 lb) but kept on and was not unduly punished. All form at seven furlongs but should stay a mile and may reverse form from last time with Awtaad with 3 lb pull in weights.

Bravery (Aidan O'Brien) - Best of newcomers when second to Awtaad on debut over seven furlongs at Leopardstown last season. Failed to build on that on return at the Curragh this term, but showed benefit of that outing when getting off the mark at Dundalk in April over a mile, well on top at the end under a confident ride. However, plenty of stamina in pedigree and will perhaps be seen to best effect over further than this.

Galileo Gold (Hugo Palmer) - Improved with all five of his starts at two, winning three times including Vintage Stakes at Goodwood by three quarters of a length from Ibn Malik, and signed off season with third to Ultra in Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere at Longchamp. Progressed again to take 2000 Guineas at Newmarket (by one and a half lengths from Massaat) on reappearance this season in authoritative fashion. The one to beat here on that form considering the doubts surrounding Air Force Blue.

Sanus Per Aquam (Jim Bolger) - Creditable six lengths third of seven to Air Force Blue in Dewhurst Stakes final start last season, after winning Somerville Tattersall Stakes (both at Newmarket over seven furlongs). Wasn't quite at best only try at a mile last term but met trouble that day and is a scopey sort who should do well at three, so has place claims if taking a step forward.

Shogun (Aidan O'Brien) - Third in Craven Stakes at Newmarket (four lengths behind Stormy Antarctic) on reappearance and did best of the Ballydoyle trio when second in the Derrinstown over ten furlongs behind Moonlight Magic with blinkers removed last time. Blinkers back on today but has had more racing than some of these and perhaps vulnerable to improvers.

Timeform Lockinge Stakes 1-2-3
1. Galileo Gold
2. Air Force Blue
3. Awtaad

Timeform Analyst's Verdict
GALILEO GOLD can emulate Gleaneagles and complete the English/Irish 2000 Guineas double under Frankie Dettori. Air Force Blue obviously has a bit to prove after his no show at Newmarket but his juvenile dominance is still in the fresh in the memory and it would be no surprise were he the one to give Hugo Palmer's charge most to do. The progressive Awtaad also merits respect.

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