Timeform bring you their comprehensive runner-by-runner guide to Saturday's Irish 2000 Guineas, and pick out their 1-2-3...
"That is a good platform for him to build from, though, and he has leading form claims...."
Timeform on Elarqam
1. ELARQAM (Mark Johnston/Jim Crowley)
Beautifully-bred colt, by Frankel out of trainer Mark Johnston's 1000 Guineas winner Attraction. He won both starts as a two-year-old, and shaped very encouragingly on his return when two lengths fourth to Saxon Warrior in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket, held back by inexperience. That is a good platform for him to build from, though, and he has leading form claims. Highly respected.
2. GUSTAV KLIMT (Aidan O'Brien/Donnacha O'Brien)
Created a big impression in a truncated juvenile campaign, and proved himself a very smart performer when winning the Leopardstown 2000 Guineas Trial (by one and three quarter lengths from Imaging) on his return last month. He surprisingly failed to progress from that when only sixth in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket last time, beaten five and a half lengths by stablemate Saxon Warrior. Surprisingly he looked short of pace that day, and has a bit to find with Elarqam, but it would be folly to ignore his claims.
3. LANDSHARK (Jessica Harrington/Colm O'Donoghue)
Made a winning debut over six furlongs at Leopardstown last summer and progressed further when beaten six lengths in second by U S Navy Flag in the Round Tower Stakes at this course on his final start. Should stay this far, but this a tough ask on his return, and likely best watched.
4. ROMANISED (Ken Condon/Shane Foley)
Made a winning debut over six furlongs at Navan in April last year and performed with credit in pattern company all other starts last season, best effort when runner-up to Masar in the Solario Stakes at Sandown in September. He shaped better than the distance beaten in a listed race on return at Naas earlier this month, left poorly placed and met trouble. Has stamina to prove, though, and will likely prove vulnerable from a win perspective.
5. SPANISH POINT (Aidan O'Brien/Padraig Beggy)
Cost plenty as a yearling, but remains a maiden after three starts. Well beaten by a subsequent two-time winner (including at listed level) in a seven-furlong maiden at Limerick final start in 2017 and, though he seems sure to do better at some stage, this looks a tough ask on his return to action.
6. SYMBOLIZATION (Charlie Appleby/William Buick)
Maiden win at two proved strong form, and he was only narrowly denied by a subsequent listed winner on his return at Newmarket last month. Duly improved on that when winning a handicap at same course last time and, though this represents a steep rise in class, he represents top connections and is well worth a try at this level. Not to be underestimated.
7. THEOBALD (Jim Bolger/Kevin Manning)
Won a maiden and a minor event in 2017, and shaped as if better for the run when beaten six and a half lengths by Hazapour in the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at Leopardstown last time. Drop back to a mile not a worry but has a bit to find with the principals.
8. THREEANDFOURPENCE (Aidan O'Brien/Seamie Heffernan)
Good-bodied colt who put up his best effort yet when runner-up to Mendelssohn in a listed race at Dundalk on his reappearance in March but has finished nearer last than first in both starts since. Admittedly, he faced a tough task in both, and is clearly a smart performer on his day, but others still make more appeal.
9. U S NAVY FLAG (Aidan O'Brien/Ryan Moore)
Did nothing but progress with racing last season, winning four times in all, including the Middle Park Stakes and Dewhurst Stakes (by two and a half lengths from Mendelssohn) at Newmarket. Came on for his reappearance when taking a big step back in the right direction when fifth in the Poule d'Essai des Poulains at Longchamp last time, working hard early to get lead from wide draw and stumbling five furlons out. It may prove that he is better at sprint trips, but he is well worth a crack at this and is sure to be popular under Ryan Moore.
10. WOULD BE KING (Ger Lyons/Colin Keane)
Remains a maiden, but has some near-smart form to his name, notably when beaten three quarters of a length by Imaging in a listed event at Naas on his return earlier this month. However, he was always well positioned and would have been beaten further if the winner hadn't have encountered traffic problems, so hard to see him playing a leading role here.
11. ZIHBA (James Stack/Chris Hayes)
Unbeaten colt who has made a very bright start to his career, taking a big step forward in form terms when completing a hat-trick in the Amethyst Stakes at Leopardstown last time by one and a half lengths from Pincheck. He is on a steep upward curve and has earned his place in this field. Can't be ignored.
Timeform Irish 2000 Guineas Analyst Verdict
ELARQAM ran a cracking race in the Guineas at Newmarket despite still looking rough around the edges and can take the first Irish Classic of 2018 for Britain. Aidan O'Brien seeks a twelfth win and Gustav Klimt looks the pick of his quartet. Zihba has reportedly been purchased by Al Shaqab Racing after his impressive display at Leopardstown and won't give up his unbeaten record easily.
Timeform Irish 2000 Guineas 1-2-3
2. Gustav Klimt