Newmarket preview: QIPCO 2000 Guineas (15.45)
Trainer Aidan O’Brien has a superb record in the 2000 Guineas and Gleneagles can further enhabce it by landing the 207th running of the colt’s classic at Newmarket today (15.45).
The Ballydoyle handler has won the race six times, and in Gleneagles has a horse who was a top class juvenile and progressed with every run last season.
After finishing fourth on his debut, the son of Galileo went on to land his next four starts in the manner of a top notch prospect.
Gleneagles showed a smart turn of foot to come from off the pace on his penultimate outing to beat Toscanini by 1 1/2 lengths in the Group 1 National Stakes at the Curragh, before going on to round of the campaign with victory in the Group 1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere at Longchamp.
Altough Gleneagles lost the latter in the stewards’ room, it was a harsh decision and there is little doubt that he was the best horse in the race.
The fact that Gleneagles has Group 1 winning form in the book is a major plus, and he has also long been regarded at the stable number one for the race.
Another plus is that Gleneagles now gets the services of Ryan Moore in the saddle for the first time, and the three-year-old has also bagged a good draw in stall 16 on the stands side rail.
O’Brien also saddles another very interesting contender in Ol’ Man River, who will be ridden by his son Joseph. The beautifully bred son of Montjeu, who is out of English and Irish 1000 Guineas winner Finsceal Beo, won both his starts in good style last year.
The last of those came in the Group 2 Beresford Stakes at the Curragh where Ol’ Man River scored easily by 2 3/4 lengths, and that race has often proved a good pointer to the following year’s Classics.
Richard Hannon saddles four runners, and the pick of the quartet looks to be Estidhkaar.
The colt was a dual winner in Group 2 company as a juvenile ,and posted a cracking effort on seasonal reappearance when runner-up in the Greenham at Newbury.
Esidhkaar rallied strongly after being headed inside the final furlong to go down by just a neck in the 7f contest and the step up to a mile today looks sure to suit.
The son of Dark Angel also looked as if he would come on for the run, and to me Estidhkaar rates the biggest danger to Gleneagles.