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Phoenix Of Spain lands shock Irish Guineas success as big two disappoint

Phoenix Of Spain was a surprise winner of the Group 1 Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas (1600m) at Curragh on Saturday, defeating Too Darn Hot for Charlie Hills and Jamie Spencer.

The Classic had been billed as a showdown between 6-4 joint-favourites Magna Grecia, winner of the 2,000 Guineas, and Too Darn Hot, who was rerouted to the race after being beaten in the Dante Stakes at York, which serves as a primary trial for the Investec Derby.

But instead Phoenix Of Spain, a 16-1 shot, cut out most of the running under Spencer and, despite Frankie Dettori travelling well into the race on Too Darn Hot, the pair had no answer to the winner through the final furlong.

Third went to Decrypt, with 2,000 Guineas winner Magna Grecia in trouble a fair way from home.

Winning jockey Spencer said: "He was very impressive and the race worked out well. It was a tremendous training performance by Charlie and he's done very well with the horse. I thought he'd run a good race and be in the three but the way he won it was surprising. I was always going to be handy but didn't expect to be making it."

Paddy Power reacted to the victory by making Phoenix Of Spain their 6-4 favourite for the St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot (from 12) with Too Darn Hot pushed out to as big as 4-1 for the same race.

On form a case could be made for Phoenix Of Spain, as he finished off his juvenile season with a head second to Magna Grecia in the Group 1 Vertem Futurity Stakes at Doncaster, and he had also filled the same position behind Too Darn Hot in the Group 2 Champagne Stakes, also at Doncaster.

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