05/24/2001 12:00AM

Tamburlaine tough at Curragh

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Aidan O'Brien sends out a quartet of challengers at The Curragh on Saturday in an effort to secure his third Irish 2000 Guineas title.

But his team of Minardi, Mozart, Freud, and Black Minnaloushe may not be enough to turn back Tamburlaine, who could give British trainer Richard Hannon a third Irish 2000 of his own.

Tamburlaine looked sharp when he finished second, 1 1/4 lengths behind the highly impressive Golan, in the English 2000 Guineas at Newmarket three weeks ago. European juvenile champ Minardi was fourth that day. Tamburlaine, a son of Royal Academy, will be ridden by Richard Hughes and should add his name to those of Don't Forget Me and Tirol as Hannon-trained winners of the Irish mile classic.

Two other British invaders, the Barry Hills-trained Amicable, 2 for 2 this year against lesser, and the Ben Hanbury-trained Mugharreb, a recent maiden winner by Gone West out of three-time Group 1 winning miler Marling, have upset chances.

On the same card, O'Brien will saddle an intriguing sprint prospect in the six-furlong Group 3 Greenlands Stakes. Ishiguru, a 3-year-old Danzig colt, already holds a decision over Mugharreb and was an 11-length winner of a six-furlong maiden at Naas last time out in October.