Mastercraftsman Dominates Irish 2000 Guineas

Favorite's victory gives Aidan O'Brien his ninth successive Irish Classic victory.

Favored Mastercraftsman proved a smashing 4 1/2-length winner of the Irish Two Thousand Guineas (Ire-I) over heavy going at the Curragh May 23.

The 6-4 choice gave trainer Aidan O'Brien his ninth successive Irish Classic winner. O'Brien has now won the Irish Two Thousand Guineas five times in the past 10 years.

Derrick Smith's chestnut son of Danehill Dancer seized the lead from pacesetter Viceroy of India with more than a quarter-mile to run and left his rivals while quickening impressively in the final furlong for jockey Johnny Murtagh.

The stalking Rayeni, a promising son of Indian Ridge, took second for trainer John Oxx and jockey Mick Kinane. The Richard Hannon-conditioned Soul City was third under Richard Hughes. Delegator, the 3-1 second choice in the field of nine 3-year-olds, was under a tight hold early and failed to respond in the final furlong, finishing eighth.

O'Brien said afterward that he plans to send Mastercraftsman to the St James's Palace Stakes (Eng-I) June 16 at Royal Ascot, a race the trainer has won the last two years.

Soul City and Viceroy of India vied for the early lead as Mastercraftsman settled into a prominent spot third at the mid-point of the one-mile event. Viceroy Of India was leading at the near rail entering the straight when Mastercraftsman made his winning move. Rayeni made headway in the straight to gain the second spot over Soul City by 1 3/4 lengths at the wire, but he never threatened the winner. Recharge finished fourth.

Delegator, the runner-up in the Two Thousand Guineas at Newmarket last time, made progress from the rear and was angled out for the final furlong by Jamie Spencer but had nothing to offer.

O'Brien, whose charge finished fifth in the English Two Thousand, told Racing Post, "Obviously all the horses have improved for their first run and since Newmarket the horses have really started coming.

"Pat (Smullen) was very happy with him at Newmarket and said he really got going a furlong and a half out. We've been happy with him at home since and he showed today he is a great traveler and can quicken as well."

Murtagh added, "He's a very good horse and is very brave and tenacious. He has the heart and will to win which all good horses have."

Spencer said of Delegator: "He didn't go in the ground and was never going at any stage."

Mastercraftsman is out of Starlight Dreams, by Black Tie Affair.  He was bred in Ireland by Lynch Bages Ltd.  He is a half-brother to Genuine Devotion (by Rock of Gibraltar), who captured the Locust Grove Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Churchill Downs last year.

The final time was 1:48.16.

Mary Schweitzer contributed to this article.