05/25/2006 11:00PM

Only two will try Hurricane Run

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Hurricane Run will make his seasonal debut in the $320,000 Tattersalls Gold Cup at The Curragh on Sunday, and only two other horses are daring to challenge the reigning European champion.

Whether the lack of competition is due to fear of the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner Hurricane Run or the prevailing soft to heavy ground at The Curragh, the Group 1 race will be a tactical affair in which Hurricane Run's rider, Kieren Fallon, will have to be aware of every change of pace throughout the 1 5/16 miles. A 4-year-old son of Montjeu, Hurricane Run is running for the first time since his Arc victory on Oct. 2 He should not be troubled by the wet ground since he won a 1 1/8-mile maiden and 1 3/8-mile allowance in heavy going in his first two starts. Trainer Andre Fabre has expressed confidence in the early-season condition of Hurricane Run, who is returning to the scene of his Irish Derby victory last June 26.

The task of the 2-5 favorite was simplified when trainer Brian Meehan decided against running his Champion Stakes and Dubai Duty Free winner David Junior because of the ground, leaving Alexander Goldrun and Lord Admiral as Hurricane Run's only competition.

A four-time Group 1 winner, Alexander Goldrun, 5, is a Jim Bolger-trained mare who has won a listed race on heavy ground. She is, however, winless in five starts since taking the 1 1/4-mile Group 1 Nassau Stakes last July 29 against her own gender. Lord Admiral, a Charles O'Brien-trained son of El Prado, has never won on ground worse than good. His best recent efforts were a pair of seconds in Group 2 races at Nad Al Sheba this winter.

The presence of Hurricane Run at The Curragh overshadows Sunday's running of the $512,000 Irish 1000 Guineas. With Newmarket's 1000 Guineas winner Speciosa opting for the English Oaks and prerace favorite Rumplestiltskin sidelined with a leg injury, the one-mile filly classic has attracted 15 entries despite the going.

The best of the soft-ground performers appear to be Confidential Lady, who was second to Speciosa at Newmarket; Kamarinskaya, the Aidan O'Brien-trained winner of the Leopardstown Stud 1000 Guineas Trial; and Short Dance, a listed winner on heavy ground at York. Another O'Brien runner, Queen Cleopatra, is coming off a win in the Group 3 Derrinstwon Stud 1000 Guineas Trial, but Fallon has chosen to ride her stablemate Race for the Stars, who ran eighth in Speciosa's Guineas.