Moore opts for US Navy Flag as Keane chases first Classic on Would Be King
Ryan Moore's decision to stay loyal to US Navy Flag and ignore Gustav Klimt has led to a shake-up in the market for the Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas at the Curragh on Saturday when champion jockey Colin Keane is chasing a first Classic success on one of only two runners in the race who have yet to win, Would Be King.
The Ballydoyle pair have now flip-flopped in the market as a consequence with US Navy Flag, only fifth in the French 2,000 Guineas, now 11-4 with Paddy Power having started the week at 7-1, while Gustav Klimt is all the way out to 7-2 with the same firm. Elarqam is 6-4 favourite.
Keane's best finish in a Classic was his third aboard Blue De Vega in the Irish 2,000 Guineas in 2016 but the 23-year-old has his sights set on changing that statistic this weekend on Would Be King and Who's Steph in the Tattersalls Irish 1,000 Guineas on Sunday.
Ger Lyons has decided to pitch Would Be King in at the deep end and Keane thinks he is dead right to do so.
"I suppose you could call Would Be King a high-class loser. That is what he is really. He hasn't won a race yet but he has some really high-class form in the book and he was less than a length behind Imaging at Naas earlier this month," Keane said.
"We have always rated him highly and I think he is improving. I don't think he will look out of place in the line-up at all. He could surprise a few," he added.
Would Be King is 16-1 with William Hill and 20-1 with Paddy Power for Saturday's colts' Classic.
Who's Steph was aptly named at the start of the season as nobody knew anything about the Naas maiden winner who was rated just 93. Fast forward a few months and everybody knows Who's Steph following her wins in a pair of 1,000 Guineas Trials at Leopardstown.
The grey filly, who was supplemented for €30,000 after being bought by George Strawbridge, is as short as 7-1 with BoyleSports and Keane says it is her attitude that makes her what she is.
Keane said: "She always has her head nailed to the floor and tries so hard for you. I would say that is one of her best assets. She has an incredible attitude.
"She definitely deserves her spot in the line-up having won the two trials at Leopardstown so well. She surprised me the last day as she adapted so well to the quicker ground. That is another feather in her cap and I expected her to run a huge race."
"I was third to Awtaad on Blue De Vega two years ago and that is the closest I have come to riding a Classic winner. I would love to improve upon that this weekend and, if I actually managed to win one of the Guineas it would be a dream come true."
Al Shaqab snap up Zihba
The unbeaten Zihba will run in the familiar colours of Al Shaqab Racing for the first time in the Irish 2,000 Guineas. The impressive Amethyst winner, trained by Fozzy Stack, is no bigger than 8-1 for Saturday's showpiece.
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