Paddington bears fruit in Irish Guineas
Paddington made a seamless switch to Classic company as he gave trainer Aidan O’Brien another victory in the Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas at the Curragh.
Having begun his season in handicap company off a mark of 97, Paddington won the Tetrarch Stakes next time before being pitched into the Guineas.
Ryan Moore was keen to grab an early position on the 3-1 victor and settled just behind Oisin Murphy on Hi Royal, the surprise runner up in the Newmarket Guineas.
For a brief spell it appeared as if Murphy was keeping a bit up his sleeve as Moore got down into the drive position, but with half a furlong left to run, Paddington began to gain the upper hand.
He leaned in briefly on Hi Royal, but he was already in command and as Hi Royal began to weaken it was the winner’s stablemate Cairo who made late gains from the rear to claim second, beaten two lengths.
Royal Scotsman was sent off the 6-4 favourite but never looked like getting involved as O’Brien claimed a 12th victory in the race, although it was his first since Churchill in 2017.
The winner is now the 4-1 second favourite for the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot with Coral, who have Newmarket winner Chaldean as the 11-8 market leader.
“We went to Ascot first time (at two) with him and he was very babyish. Then he came back and won a maiden very easily here with Seamus (Heffernan),” said O’Brien.
“He wintered very well and we were very happy with him in the spring. He ended up in the Madrid (Handicap) on a lovely mark, it was a lovely place to start him as it was over seven furlongs, even though the ground was soft.
“Then he came back here and won the Tetrarch in soft ground again, so we weren’t really sure about the ground with him. Obviously he’s a Siyouni out of a Montjeu mare. He was always a beautiful mover but you are never sure until they do it.
“Seamus loved him the last day and he had been doing everything really nice since. He’s a fine, big horse and is maturing very well. He’s very good looking.
“He was a little bit slow away, but Ryan got his position very quickly on him and he didn’t light him up to do it. He’s a very exciting horse.”
When asked if the St James’ Palace could be next, he added: “What we always do is we go home and give them a week or 10 days and then the lads discuss it with Ryan and everyone else before deciding where they would like to go.
“That looks like the natural progression for him though, because he doesn’t look short of speed, even though he will get further in time.”
He went on: “He missed the break and where he was, if he had stayed there it could have been a very dangerous position because he would have been at the mercy of the race.
“Ryan went out with the mindset that he’d ride his own horse and it didn’t matter where anyone else was going to be, he was going to be happy to make the running or do whatever.
“He had great confidence in him but that split second decision when he made that move very quickly to have that position, without lighting up the horse, made all the difference.
“He travelled like a dream and when he asked him he did quicken, but he’s still a little bit of a baby and he probably would have learned a lot today quickening on that ground.”