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Kingsbarns misses gallop as Mars and Cristoforo stake Guineas claims

After the first day’s racing of the Irish flat season at the Curragh on Saturday Aidan O’Brien worked 68 of his horses on the racecourse in four 17 horse groups.

News that O’Brien’s Kingsbarns, previously second in the 2000 Guineas betting with Coral, was absent with a foot infection that puts his participation for the season’s first Classic in doubt, saw his stable mate Cristoforo Colombo leapfrog him in the betting. The former is now 9/1 for the Guineas whereas the latter is now 7/1 second-favourite behind Jim Bolger’s Dawn Approach.

It’s likely that both will head straight to Newmarket without a prep-run, but this shouldn’t concern punters unduly, with six of the last 10 2000 Guineas scorers notching those triumphs on their first start of the season.

Cristoforo Colombo was one of three sons of O’Brien’s dual Guineas winner Henrythenavigator being put through their paces on the Curragh, the others being Pedro The Great and Breeders Cup Juvenile winner George Vancouver (33/1 and 16/1 for the Newmarket classic respectively) who also finished three and a half lengths behind Dawn Approach in last season’s Dewhurst.

O’Brien described himself as “really happy” with the trio, stating all three would be aimed at the Guineas and nominated George Vancouver “one to have a fiver on each-way in the Guineas”.

Among the Ballydoyle battalion’s plethora of 2000 Guineas hopes it was perhaps Mars, 12/1 with Coral, that did most to enhance his classic claims.

Having previously been unsure as to whether the Galileo colt would take in the Guineas or go down the Derby trial route the three-year-old’s impressively smooth-travelling run-out eliminated any doubt about his suitability for the 1m classic with O’Brien saying “we were so happy with the way he worked it’s very possible he’ll go straight to the Guineas.”