Phoenix Of Spain shocks favourites in competitive Tattersalls Irish 2000 Guineas

Connections of Phoenix Of Spain, winner of the Tattersalls Irish 2000 Guineas at The Curragh on Saturday. Credit: The Curragh Racecourse.

Phoenix Of Spain (16/1) caused an upset in the Tattersalls Irish 2000 Guineas at The Curragh as the Charlie Hills-trained colt gained revenge on joint favourites Magna Grecia (6/4jf) and Too Darn Hot (6/4jf), both of them having previously beaten the son of Lope de Vega.

The winner, on his first run of the season, led from three furlongs out as Too Darn Hot loomed threateningly on the grey’s outside. Jamie Spencer, who was completing a double on the day, sent the eventual winner on at the furlong post as Frankie Dettori’s Too Darn Hot started to thread water, failing to make any impact on Phoenix Of Spain, who went away for a comfortable three-length victory over the John Gosden-trained runner, while half-a-length behind, Decrypt (20/1) ran on late on the outside to take third place by a neck as Skardu (13/2) faded on the rail.

Jubilant trainer Charlie Hills nominated the St James Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot as the next target for the horse that was acquired for next year by the National Irish Stud in the past few days:

“We’ll obviously enjoy today and then sit back down in a couple of days time and prepare him for Ascot and the St James Palace Stakes. After that we’re really looking forward to stepping him up to 1m 2f.”

Earlier on the card, Jamie Spencer had brought the Richard Fahy-trained Mr Lupton (5/1) from last to first to cheekily win The Weatherbys Ireland Greenlands Stakes (Group 2) over 6 furlongs. The favourite, Speak In Colours (4/1f), from the Joseph O’Brien yard was three-quarters-of-a-length back in second with the evergreen 11-year-old Gordon Lord Byron taking third place at 20/1. St Patricks Day (8/1), a brother of American Pharoah, disappointed yet again as the John Magnier-owned four-year-old was eased down inside the final furlong, to finish last of the nine-runner field.

A day of success for the overseas visitors continued with the victory of Beshaayir (8/1), under Frankie Dettori, in The Landawes Stud Stakes (Group 2) over a mile. The William Haggis raider’s win meant all Group races on the second day of the Grand Opening Weekend at headquarters went for export. Aidan O’Brien’s favourite under Ryan Moore, I Can Fly (11/8f), took the runner-up spot a length-and-a-half away, with his son Joseph’s Red Tea (9/2) another head behind.


Daughter In Law (10/1), who cost 23,00 euros as a yearling, showed an impressive turn of foot to claim the opening The Foran Equine Irish EBF Auction Maiden over five furlongs. Ridden by seven-pound claimer Nathan Crosse, the two-year-old daughter of Requinto, scooted clear inside the final furlong for a three-and-a-half lengths success over the dead-heating pair My Friend Stan (10/1) and Glow Worm (8/1).

Daughter In Law and Nathan Cross winning The Foran Equine Irish EBF Auction Maiden. Credit: David Betts.     

Blairmayne (10/1) gave Natalia Lupini and three-pound claimer Killian Leonard victory in The Heritage Hotel & Spa Handicap over six-furlongs. The gelded son of Zebedee lead at the furlong pole, only to deny all late challengers from either side of him, to claim a half-length win over Arcanears (8/1) and Fridtjof Nansen (22/1).

Insignia Of Rank (10/1) gave Joseph Murphy and Gary Carroll a winner when taking The FBD Hotels & Resorts Handicap, ahead of Sheisdiesel (14/1) and the prominent Massif Central (10/1), with the final winner of Saturday’s seven-race card being Karasi for Michael Halford and Ronan Whelan in The New Curragh Handicap over a mile.

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