Monday 18 December 2017

Thunder primed to roar for Saeed in 2,000 Guineas

Thunder Snow, with Christophe Soumillon aboard, winning the UAE Derby in Dubai in March
Thunder Snow, with Christophe Soumillon aboard, winning the UAE Derby in Dubai in March

Aidan O'Brien's three-time Group One winner Churchill will face just five rivals, including two stable companions, when lining up in the Irish 2,000 Guineas at the Curragh tomorrow afternoon but the three trainers in opposition to the Ballydoyle hotpot are looking forward to big displays from their respective contenders.

Churchill is a long odd-on favourite and justifiably so given his win in the 2,000 Guineas and while some will point to the fact that the race panned out very much in his favour that day, Churchill looks like a colt that will continue to prove his doubters wrong as the season progresses.

However, Thunder Snow could be the horse that runs well at a big price and proves to be of interest to punters backing in the market without Churchill.

Saeed bin Surror hasn't had an Irish Guineas runner since winning the race with Dubawi 12-years ago and speaking to The Herald yesterday he said he was looking forward to bringing over the Group One winner.

"Thunder Snow is well and his work has been good," said the Newmarket trainer. "I'm happy with him but the race is tough and I have a lot of respect for Churchill - he's a superstar - but Thunder Snow is a Group One winner in France last year and he won a UAE Derby and UAE Guineas. Any rain would help him as he would like it good or good to soft."

Mick Halford's Irishcorrespondent could himself develop into a superstar as we are yet to find out exactly how good he is with two fairly facile wins to his credit already and although he, nor Lyons have never won a Classic the two County Kildare natives would love to break that duck at the Curragh.

Halford will make the short journey to HQ tomorrow with a live chance.

"He is just very straightforward and takes everything in his stride," Halford said of the son of Teofilo.

"Nothing seems to faze him, he loves his routine and he is really thriving at the minute.

"He has improved since his last run and has a rating of 105 so hopefully will represent us well on Saturday."

Lyons, now based in Meath, has come close in this race in the past when Endless Drama finished three parts of a length behind Gleneagles a couple of years ago and whether or not Glastonbury Song is good enough to defy his odds of 33/1 remains to be seen but Lyons feels that the Seán Jones-owned three-year-old could be better than his most recent Classic runner-up.

"We like the horse," Lyons said yesterday.

"I have held the horse as a seven-furlong horse rather than a mile horse but I think he'll run well and I'm delighted to have a runner in six-horse Guineas than not have a runner. I think he'll run a big race.

"They are two different horses (Endless Drama and Glastonbury Song) but I asked the lads the other morning if Glastonbury Song was better than Endless Drama and the very fact that I'm thinking that... he is 33/1 and I don't bet but if I did, that would be some value."

The field is small but looks to have some interesting candidates but in a year that has lacked a stand out three-year-old for the Derby picture yet, in Churchill Aidan O'Brien looks to have a special miler on his hands and the son of Galileo will look to prove that tomorrow afternoon.

Declarations for Sunday's 1,000 Guineas will be confirmed at lunchtime today with Ryan Moore expected to take over on Winter, as she bids for the Newmarket/Curragh double.

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