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Electric Rosallion tees up Notable Speech rematch with Irish 2,000 Guineas win over stablemate Haatem

A St James's Palace showdown with Newmarket conqueror Notable Speech awaits Rosallion after a thrilling victory over stablemate Haatem in the Group 1 Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas (1600m) at the Curragh on Saturday.

There was just a head to split the Richard Hannon-trained colts, who arrived on the back of placed efforts in the Qipco 2,000 Guineas this month.

Jamie Spencer gave Haatem a very enterprising ride, kicking for home inside the final two furlongs and appearing to get first run on his shorter-priced stable companion.

However, once in gear and in the clear, Rosallion ran on strongly up the hill to narrowly deny Haatem in the final strides. Last year's Coventry winner River Tiber finished nicely for third on his return and was beaten a length and a half.

The first and third answered any lingering doubts over whether they stay a mile, which was something Hannon admitted he was worried about with the winner. He said: “He proved that he got the trip and that's the most pleasing thing.”

Hannon added: “He was a bit keen early. It took him a bit of time to pick him up, but he's such a hyped horse, he's not going to please everybody. It's on to Ascot now for the St James's Palace and hopefully he will be in training next year. These days are very rare, we will enjoy it.”

It is indeed rare that a trainer nearly prefers to speak about a beaten horse, but Hannon's love for Haatem is palpable. He said: “Haatem is so brave, he has run such a lovely race. He didn't really deserve to get beat but his day will come. I just love him, he's really smashing and a pleasure to have.

"If anything he has emerged with maybe more credit than the winner and his day will come. I think he will stay further. We will discuss it with Sheikh Abdullah and see where we will go.”

Rosallion was shortened to 7-4 second favourite (from 3) for the St James's Palace by Paddy Power, who eased Notable Speech to 11-8 favourite (from 5-4).

It was a proud moment for rider Sean Levey, who has been based with Hannon for a number of years but began his career in the mid 2000s with Aidan O'Brien.

Levey said: “I thought the race would be a bit like that. He dragged me hard to the line and he had to work hard to get by Haatem. I was confident I was going to get him, especially over that last bit when we were climbing all the time. Hopefully they both come out of it okay, it was a real battle.”

The rider paid tribute to Hannon, adding: “Richard has rolled the dice a few times with him. After Doncaster last year we were left scratching our heads a bit, but he sent him to France and he delivered. Also to say after the Guineas he really wanted to come here has paid off again.

“To win this race is special for me. I had my first ever ride here when I was with Aidan O'Brien on a horse called South Wind Rising, so it's great to come back in a race like this with a favourite's chance and deliver.”

O'Brien was about to go over to congratulate Levey when asked to reflect on the performance of River Tiber, who might just have exceeded expectations in finishing a close third. He said: “That was a lovely first run against two good horses. We will have to see now whether he will go over six, seven or a mile at Ascot.”

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