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Top horses stand their ground in Guineas

30 Apr 2012

Two cracking races are all set to launch the 2012 QIPCO British Champions Series as Aidan O'Brien looks to make the perfect start when he saddles the hot favourite in both the QIPCO 2000 and 1000 Guineas.

Camelot hacks up in last year’s Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster. Can he repeat that in Saturday’s QIPCO 2000 Guineas? Image courtesy of racingfotos.com.

As the clock ticks down to the first two of the 35 races in the 2012 QIPCO British Champions Series at Newmarket this weekend, there are a few big questions to be answered.

Can Aidan O’Brien saddle the winner of both the QIPCO 2000 Guineas on Saturday and QIPCO 1000 Guineas on Sunday in the shape of the two red-hot favourites, Camelot and Maybe, neither of which has yet to taste defeat?

Will the much-vaunted Camelot stamp his class on the opening race of the Series just like Frankel did 12 months ago?

And when it comes to Sunday’s feature, can Mahmood Al Zarooni repeat Blue Bunting’s victory last year with either Discourse or Lyric Of Light, who, like Maybe, carry big reputations and are both so far unbeaten?

There’s no doubt that all eyes will be on Camelot on Saturday. All winter he’s been the most talked about horse of the latest three-year-old generation, but it all hinges on whether a mile will prove too short for him this season as he is guaranteed to come into his own over middle distances.

Win or lose on Saturday, the mile-and-a-half Investec Derby will almost certainly beckon next for the son of Montjeu, who has pleased his trainer very much in his build-up to the QIPCO 2000 Guineas.

The biggest threat according to the ante-post betting is the once raced Top Offer, trained by Roger Charlton and owned, like Frankel, by Prince Khaled Abdulla.

Charlton has made no secret of the regard in which he holds the horse, but he was forced to miss his intended warm-up race because of the heavy ground at Newbury a couple of weeks ago and lack of experience may tell on Saturday.

The biggest threats to Maybe undoubtedly come from the Mahmood Al Zarooni-trained and Godolphin-owned pair of Discourse and Lyric of Light.

Like Camelot and Top Offer, none of this trio has raced this season and it is very hard to say with any confdience which will come out on top or, indeed, if there is another filly in a world class field who could beat them.

The Ger Lyons-trained Lightening Pearl, owned by the race sponsors, certainly has the class to be a threat, but will she stay the mile trip? That remains to be seen.

With strong entries for the supporting races, both Saturday and Sunday promise to be cracking racedays.

It’s not too late to get your ticket – CLICK HERE to book now or turn up on the day and pay at the gate. That’s a decision you won’t regret!