05/19/2011 12:48PM

The Curragh: Dubawi Gold looks llike clear choice in Irish Guineas

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Dubawi Gold will be favored Saturday at the Curragh in the Group 1 Irish 2000 Guineas in part because he exits a second-place finish to Frankel in the English 2000 Guineas, but also because the overall quality of his seven rivals appears to be subpar.

Dubawi Gold himself is not a group stakes winner, and the only such horse in the one-mile Irish 2000 Guineas is Roderic O’Connor, who captured the Group 1 Criterium International last fall in France, but flopped in the English 2000 Guineas, finishing 11th behind runaway winner Frankel. Dubawi Gold managed to finish second of 13 three weeks ago in the Guineas at Newmarket but was beaten six lengths by Frankel while a half-length clear of third-place Native Khan in a strung-out field. Dubawi Gold, trained by Richard Hannon, has won three times, taking a conditions race over seven furlongs on turf last year at Ascot, and winning twice on the all-weather Lingfield course earlier this year.

Roderic O’Connor, trained by Aidan O’Brien, could easily rebound from his disappointing 2011 debut. Besides his victory in the Criterium, this Galileo colt won a seven-furlong race at The Curragh last summer, beating high-quality Master of Hounds by more than two lengths.

Course conditions Saturday are expected to be good to firm. The Irish 2000 Guineas is contested over a nearly straight course with a slight right-hand bend.