Coolmore and Godolphin dominate the 18 confirmations for Saturday’s Qipco 2000 Guineas at Newmarket on Saturday.
Aidan O’Brien is chasing an 11th victory in the first Classic of the season and already holds the record as the most successful trainer in the race.
The Ballydoyle handler has an exceptionally strong hand, led by St Mark’s Basilica and Wembley – the first two home in the Dewhurst at the end of last season.
Vintage Stakes winner Battleground, who missed the a large part of the summer before finishing second at the Breeders’ Cup, stands his ground, while O’Brien could also run Criterium International winner Van Gogh and Military Style
Godolphin and Charlie Appleby look the chief threat to Ballydoyle, with two major chances.
He fields Craven Stakes winner Master Of The Seas and One Ruler, who will be making his seasonal debut but impressed in a recent workout on the Rowley Mile.
One Ruler beat Van Gogh in the Autumn Stakes before chasing home Jim Bolger’s Mac Swiney in the Futurity Trophy at Doncaster. Appleby could also run Naval Crown.
Mac Swiney adds to the Irish challenge along with stablemate Poetic Flare, as does Jessica Harrington’s Lucky Vega, a Group One-winning juvenile, with similar comments applying to Joseph O’Brien’s Thunder Moon, who only has two lengths to make up on St Mark’s Basilica from the Dewhurst.
Adding further spice to the mix is Charlie Hills’ Mutasaabeq, who has been supplemented following his taking reappearance win at Newmarket.
Richard Hannon’s Greenham winner Chindit, Jane Chapple-Hyam’s Albadri, Ralph Beckett’s Devilwala, Roger Varian’s Legion Of Honour and the Andrew Balding-trained Mystery Smiles complete the field.
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