Saturday’s Group 1 Tattersalls Irish 2000 Guineas produced a shock winner but a heartwarming reminder of racing’s unpredictability as the unconsidered 25/1 shot Romanised, trained by Ken Condon and ridden by Shane Foley, stormed away to an impressive victory.
All eyes had been on Mark Johnston’s Elarqam (2/1f), fourth to Saxon Warrior in the Qipco 2000 Guineas at Newmarket three weeks earlier, and on the Aidan O’Brien-trained Ballydoyle-based pair of eventual runner-up US Navy Flag (10/3), and third home Gustav Klimt (9/2). Few had considered Romanised, hampered when only sixth of eight in listed company at Naas on his seasonal return just 18 days earlier.
After Elarqam had faded tamely three furlongs out having disputed the lead with US Navy Flag, Ryan Moore’s mount was left out in front and made the best of his way home. Gustav Klimt went after him, as too did anther O’Brien inmate Threeandfourpence (who eventually finished fourth), but having been last at halfway Romanised made relentless ground down the outside inside the final quarter mile before mowing down US Navy Flag inside the final furlong to win going away by two-and-a-quarter lengths.
Remarkably, this was Condon’s first winner of the season and his first Classic winner. Foley was wining his second Irish Classic having sprung a surprise on Adrian Keatley’s 9/1 chance Jet Setting in the 2016 Irish 1000 Guineas.
“He worked the best he’s worked all spring last Tuesday,” a breathless Condon told reporters in the Curragh winners’ enclosure. “We knew we were a long shot coming in here, but I felt he was going to run a big race. He had a lot of ground to make up, but he made it up steadily. It was a fast pace, a proper-run race with no excuses, and he went to the line very strongly.
“I’m in a bit of shock and it will be a few days before it sinks in. It’s just amazing to win a Classic. It’s all I wanted to do when I entered racing. It’s a very select club and to actually step into that club feels like you are walking through special doors to be considered one of those. He’s in the St James’s Palace and Commonwealth Cup [at Royal Ascot]. We’ll see how he comes out of this.”
Few people expect the son of Holy Roman Emperor to drop back to six furlongs for the Commonwealth Cup having comprehensively outstayed his rivals over a mile. A 33/1 shot for the St James’s Palace Stakes on June 19 prior to Saturday’s heroics, Romanised is now single figures with many firms but Coral still offer 12/1. US Navy Flag is an 8/1 shot with Bet365 and Gustav Klimt is out to 12/1 with Sky Bet, while the big disappointment Elarqam is out to 16/1 with Bet365 having been a general 11/2 shot prior to his Curragh flop.
John Gosden’s unbeaten Without Parole is the clear 4/1 favourite with William Hill.
Written by Paul Alster
Paul Alster has been part of the British and international racing media for more than three decades working as a race commentator, TV/radio presenter, journalist, betting correspondent, SP returner, and form analyst. He’s always sought out overpriced runners in handicap races, a quest that excites him as much now as it did at the start of his career.