Irish 2,000 Guineas: Phoenix Of Spain storms to impressive win

Phoenix of Spain
The three-year-old winner led from early in the race

Phoenix Of Spain saw off pre-race favourite Too Darn Hot to win the Irish 2,000 Guineas at the Curragh.

Charlie Hills' 16-1 chance romped clear to win by three lengths from Too Darn Hot and Decrypt (20-1) as Newmarket winner Magna Grecia had to settle for fifth.

"It was a such a powerful galloping performance," jockey Jamie Spencer told RTE.

"I was thinking if his fitness holds up it will take a good horse to catch up."

The race was billed as a battle between 6-4 joint-favourites Too Darn Hot and Magna Grecia; however, it was Phoenix Of Spain who dominated after setting the early pace.

The three-year-old finished way out in front with Decrypt pipping Skardu for third.

"I planned to be third or fourth [in the early stages]," said Spencer.

"But sometimes if you get an easy lead, you'll take it."

The victory may feel even more sweet for Hills after Phoenix Of Spain was narrowly defeated by Too Darn Hot in September's Champagne Stakes at Doncaster before agonisingly losing to Magna Grecia by a head in the Vertem Futurity Trophy a month later.

Analysis

BBC horse racing correspondent Cornelius Lysaght

A really likeable winning performance to lead all through after a long break, so full marks to Charlie Hills, whose other stable-star Battaash made an equally impressive return at Haydock.

Good to see too another Classic win for Jamie Spencer; though only 38 he is a 'veteran' these days, having burst into the big-time aged only 17 in Ireland's 1000 Guineas twenty-one years ago tomorrow, and many youngsters are circling.

And although Aidan O'Brien is obviously dominant just now, particularly ahead of the Epsom Derby, this shows he's not invincible - a British 1-2 in Ireland and O'Brien's biggest fancy a well-beaten fifth gives hope to all.

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