05/24/2007 12:00AM

Cockney Rebel after Irish 2000 Guineas


The rags-to-riches Cockney Rebel will go after his second classic mile of the spring at the Curragh on Saturday in the $538,000 Irish 2000 Guineas.

The 1 1/2-length winner of the the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket on May 5, Cockney Rebel was picked up by owner Phil Cunningham for just $58,000 as a yearling. A son of a Breeders' Cup Mile winner, Val Royal, he could go off as low as the even-money favorite in the Irish 2000, in which again be challeneged by the Newmarket runner-up, Vital Equine.

Trained by Geoff Huffer, Cockney Rebel will once again be ridden by visiting Frenchman Olivier Peslier, while Chris Catlin will ride the Eoghan O'Neill-trained Vital Equine.

It is difficult to see Vital Equine reversing the Newmarket form at the Curragh, but the hard-working Creachadoir has a good chance for an upset. Second by just a half-length to Astronomer Royal in the French 2000 Guineas on May 13, the son of English 2000 Guineas winner Kings Best has already won a pair of Group 3 races this season. A son of an English 2000 Guineas winner, Kings Best, Creachadoir is, in effect, trainer Jim Bolger's Guineas substitute for the injured Teofilo. In reality, he is a Group 1 performer in his own right who may just have enough ability to spring a surprise.

Aidan O'Brien will field a trio of contenders, the most dangerous of whom is Duke of Marmalade, who was fourth in the 2000 Guineas, although Excellent Art, fourth in the French 2000, cannot be discounted. Traffic Guard, who chased home the redoubtable Asiatic Boy three times in Dubai, coming closest when 4 1/2 lengths second in the UAE 2000 Guineas, is a 100-1 shot in his return to turf, a surface on which he won his first two juvenile starts in England.