Guineas falls to Burke’s Angel and completes cross-channel Curragh Classic double

Yorkshire trainer pulls off own Guineas double in less than an hour after also scoring in German 1,000

Fallen Angel bounced back from Newmarket disappointment to secure classic glory in Sunday’s Tattersalls Irish 1,000 Guineas at the Curragh.

The well-backed 11-4 favourite relished rain-softened going to secure her Scottish jockey Danny Tudhope a first classic success and complete a superb cross-continental Guineas double for Karl Burke.

Less than an hour before the Curragh ‘off’ the Yorkshire-based trainer also landed the Group Two German 1,000 Guineas in Düsseldorf with Darnation.

Fallen Angel’s victory completed a Curragh classic weekend double for cross-channel trainers after Rosallion led home a one-two for Richard Hannon in Saturday’s 2,000 Guineas.


If Fallen Angel proved irrepressible in recovering from finishing only eighth behind Elmalka in the English Guineas three weeks previously, it corresponded to her trainer’s own personal and professional resilience.

Treated for bowel cancer last year, the Englishman’s professional fortunes have transformed since he was ‘warned off’ for a year after handing information to a banned gambler in 2009.

Classic success in the 2018 French Oaks with Laurens confirmed his rehabilitation as one of England’s leading trainers.

Burke’s latest star thrived for a return to the Curragh where Fallen Angel had dominated last autumn’s Moyglare and similar forceful tactics again paid off in style.

Tudhope always had her prominent and the race was as good as over outside the furlong pole as A Lilac Rolla came through for second, with Opera Singer running an honourable third on her return to action.

One firm has Opera Singer, Fallen Angel and Elmalka as 4-1 co-favourites for a potentially mouthwatering Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot next month.

“We saw the real Fallen Angel. I’m absolutely thrilled. It was a magnificent performance and it’s great to see her bounce back like that,” Tudhope said.

“She’s straightforward, stays well. She’s a relentless galloper with a huge engine so I didn’t want to complicate anything. She’s the best filly on the day.

“I never felt like I was in any danger at all. If anything, she was just looking for a bit of company,” added the 38-year-old Scot.

Burke didn’t rule out swerving Ascot and giving Fallen Angel a chance to emulate Laurens in the Prix De Diane at Chantilly, although he was determined to relish a superb Classic day.

“Amazing, that doesn’t happen very often. This is what we work for. I had cancer late last year and an operation and a bit of chemotherapy. I finished the chemo in December and since then it’s been back to work, we keep going and hopefully we’re all square.

“I never took a backwards step, you have to face what’s happening to you and worse things happen to a lot of other people, so you’ve just got to get on with it,” said the 60-year-old.

“She showed last year that she’s top-class. Obviously, we were disappointed with the Guineas, but I find it hard with three-year-olds – you just don’t know where you are with them.

“We sent her down to Newmarket fit and she didn’t blow that much afterwards. The ground maybe was a bit quick on the undulations, but that’s looking for excuses – we were beaten fair and square on the day.

“I knew coming out of the Guineas coming into this race that mentally she was in the right place. She just sparked up, especially in the last week or 10 days, and physically she looked fantastic,” Burke added.

After a winter jumps campaign where British interests were firmly in second place compared to their Irish counterparts, the opening Classics of 2024 have proved a different story.

Notable Speech and Elmalka were successful at Newmarket and had their performances boosted at the Curragh. The French also kept both their Guineas at home.

It has been a disappointing dividend for Ballydoyle in the mile Classics but Chief Little Rock’s Gallinule Stakes success on Sunday suggested potential better fortunes in upcoming middle-distance races.

The apparent stable second-string Chief Little Rock, although a well supported 11-4 shot, made most in the Group Three.

“He stays very well, is an honest horse and could go to Ascot or back here for the Irish Derby. He’d love going a mile and a half,” said O’Brien who also won the opening maiden with Heavens Gate.

Sunday’s attendance of 5,011 was down slightly on last year. Saturday’s 5,652 Curragh crowd compared to a corresponding 2023 figure of 5,977. The overall three-day Guineas festival attendance was 14,088, down on last year’s 14,773.

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor is the racing correspondent of The Irish Times. He also writes the Tipping Point column