Aidan O’Brien: celebrated a 12th Irish 2,000 Guineas win – Photo: George Selwyn

Paddington took the leap to Group 1 level in his stride on Saturday to hand his trainer Aidan O’Brien a 12th victory in the Irish 2,000 Guineas at the Curragh.

The Siyouni colt has been rapidly progressive this spring, rising out of handicap company to take the Listed Tetrarch Stakes at Leopardstown in two starts. In a field on Saturday that featured the second, third and fourth home in the Newmarket 2,000 Guineas, he still had plenty to find on the book, yet there was a notion that the best was still to come, and so it proved as under Ryan Moore he came with a sustained run to overhaul Hi Royal and win easily by two lengths.

Stablemate Cairo flashed home for second, three-quarters of length ahead of the Newmarket 2,000 Guineas runner-up Hi Royal in third. The disappointment of the race was favourite Royal Scotsman, who failed to fire in ninth.

“We loved him before his first run last year when he went Ascot but he suffered from stage fright and it was a bit of a non event,” O’Brien told Racing TV. “We gave him plenty of time and he went to win on his maiden very well. He wintered very well, had a nice handicap mark and so he went to the Madrid Handicap, which he won snugly. He made great progress to the Tetrarch and Seamie loved him that day.

“Everyone has been very happy with him since, he’s been working very well. We weren’t sure of the ground as he’s been running on softer but he took it in his stride. He was a little bit slow away and Ryan had to think quick – he had to get a position where he wasn’t going to be dictated to. He had a lovely position through the race and he quickened up very well. He was still a bit green when he got there but he’d have learnt a lot today on that ground.

“We’ll give him a week to ten days and the lads will have a chat about it, but the St James Palace Stakes looks the perfect race for him, especially given how he handled the better ground.”

Now the winner of four of five starts, Paddington becomes the ninth Group 1 winner for the Aga Khan Studs’ Siyouni, also the sire of Sunday’s Irish 1,000 Guineas favourite Tahiyra. He was bred by the Wildenstein’s Dayton Investments out of Modern Eagle, a Listed-winning Montjeu granddaughter of Prix Saint-Alary heroine Moonlight Dance.

Paddington was one of the highlights of the 2021 Arqana October Sale when knocked down to Broadhurst Agency and MV Magnier for €420,000.

Paddington pictured as a yearling. Photo – Zuzanna Lupa