TATTERSALLS IRISH 2000 GUINEAS
IN a spectacular and memorable upset, which the Tattersalls Irish 2000 Guineas hasn’t seen since days for many years, Romanised put it all together when it really mattered to give Ken Condon and Shane Foley a victory of epic proportions.
Some 13 months ago Romanised made a winning debut in a Navan maiden and it was evident then that his understated trainer held him in the highest regard.
In four subsequent outings the Robert Ng-owned son of Holy Roman Emperor had been beaten but each time there was the promise that something big could happen for this colt, and when his moment in the sun presented itself, he made no mistake.
In scoring at 25/1 Romanised has become the longest priced winner of the Irish 2000 Guineas since Northern Treasure in 1976. For Ken Condon, who has around 30 horses under his care, this first classic triumph represented a stunning way for him to send out his first winner of the season. He is now one of just four currently active Irish trainers to have saddled the winner of this race.
Shane Foley, successful on Jet Setting in the 2016 Irish 1000 Guineas, has joined an even more select club as he and Chris Hayes are the only currently licensed jockeys in Ireland to have won this race.
Romanised warmed up for this race with a sixth in the Tetrarch Stakes at Naas where he ran better than his final position would suggest. Furthermore, his two-length second to Masar in last September’s Solario Stakes represented good form and there was enough substance to this colt’s efforts to ensure that he wasn’t a totally ignored 25/1 shot in the lead up to the race.
In the race itself, Romanised dwelt slightly at the off and dropped in at the rear of the field as last year’s champion European two-year-old U S Navy Flag set a searching tempo up front. The leader was kept company for a period by Newmarket’s 2000 Guineas fourth and favourite Elarqam but he was beaten shortly after halfway.
Not many of the 11 contestants got closely involved and, for a period inside the last half-mile, the Godolphin runner Symbolization looked to be the only one that might prevent a third one-two-three in the race for Aidan O’Brien.
At halfway Romanised was still last but he soon began to move forward and as the last furlong loomed there was real momentum behind his effort. By this stage a game U S Navy Flag remained in front and he appeared to have the measure of stablemates Gustav Klimt and Threeandfourpence.
However, nothing was finishing as strongly as Romanised who swept by the leader around 150 yards from home to score by two and a quarter lengths. Gustav Klimt took third ahead of Threeandfourpence, with Symbolization doing best of the remainder.
“We’ve been struggling to even get a winner this year but this is the stuff of dreams and Romanised has always been a very nice horse. Actually I would say that his work on Tuesday morning was the best that it has been all year,” said Condon, who was sending out his first winner since July.
“He had excuses for his last run at Naas and, while he came in here as a longshot, I felt that he could run a big race, particularly if he relaxed. In the last few weeks he looks to have come to himself. It’s amazing to win a classic. It’s all I wanted to do when I started training and it’s a very select club.
“This country is full of great horsemen and very good riders and we’re all looking to get our hands on a good horse to show what we can do. Thankfully this horse came through our door one day and he’s always shown a lot of talent. His temperament has improved and he was always relaxed today.
“He is entitled to go for some very nice races and we have him in the St James’s Palace Stakes and the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot but we’ll just see how he comes out this before making plans,” concluded Condon.
Foley (30) added: “I’ve said it from day one that this is a really good horse. I was a bit disappointed with him the last day in Naas when he was just fresh and green but his run in the Solario last year was good enough. We went a good gallop and this lad was even travelling off the gallop we were going. I just met a bit of traffic at the wrong time but he picked up in the style of a good horse.”
Aidan O’Brien expressed himself happy with the efforts of his placed runners and all of them could head to Ascot although plans for the trio will be firmed up in due course. Initial indications were that U S Navy Flag and Gustav Klimt could both tackle the St James’s Palace Stakes.