Hannon happy with Irish 2,000 Guineas contenders

Richard Hannon appears to hold all the aces in the Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas with Rosallion and Haatem aiming to atone for their near-misses at Newmarket.

The colts filled the minor placings behind Notable Speech in the English equivalent three weeks ago and with Charlie Appleby deciding to keep the winner’s powder dry until the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot, they set the standard.

Rosallion was a Group One winner in France at two, with the reopposing Unquestionable behind him, while Haatem won the Craven Stakes on his return to action this season and proved that was no fluke at Newmarket.

“They’ve both come out of Newmarket well and I’m happy with them,” said Hannon.

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“I’d like to think they are both going to the Curragh with great chances on their Newmarket runs and we just have to hope they travel over well and everything goes right for them, but we are looking forward to it.

“Both horses worked earlier in the week and pleased me. It’s good to be going back to the Curragh with two nice colts in a Guineas.”

As usual, Aidan O’Brien holds a strong hand, but with City Of Troy heading for the Derby and Henry Longfellow having run in the French Guineas a week after Newmarket, he perhaps fields a less-heralded team than usual.

However, they are still high-class colts, as River Tiber won the Coventry Stakes last term, while Unquestionable and Mountain Bear were first and second at the Breeders’ Cup.

River Tiber won the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot
River Tiber won the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot (John Walton/PA)

“Everything has gone well with River Tiber, obviously we were trying to split them all up and start in different races,” said O’Brien.

“He was in Navan the other day and everything was good, so the plan is to start him in the Irish Guineas and hopefully go from there.

“It was just an away day, Ryan (Moore) rode him and was very happy with him.

“We think a mile is within his compass, not guaranteed. We just thought we’d start there and if he didn’t get it, he would go back for the Commonwealth Cup or something like that, he’s not short of speed.”

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He went on: “Unquestionable might not be as forward as River Tiber, but the plan is to start him there with a view of going to Ascot after that.

“He had a little blip a couple of weeks ago, he’s back in full swing again, but he did have it and because of that he might improve a little bit more from the Curragh than River Tiber.”

Joseph O’Brien runs Atlantic Coast, a Group Three winner last year but well beaten on his return, while Andy Oliver is represented by Bright Stripes, winner of the Tetrarch Stakes last time out.

Jack Davison’s Take Me To Church completes the field.

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