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Appleby thrilled with QIPCO 2000 Guineas hope Emotionless

2 Mar 2016

65 initial entries have been made for the QIPCO 2000 Guineas - the first race of the 2016 QIPCO British Champions Series.

The Group 1 QIPCO 2000 Guineas has been Europe’s top-rated Classic over the past three years and looks primed for another excellent renewal at the Rowley Mile Racecourse in Newmarket on Saturday, 30th April judged by the calibre of the 65 initial entries it received before Tuesday’s (1st March) deadline.

The potential competitors for this £500,000 one mile event, which heralds the start of a new QIPCO British Champions Series campaign, are headed by Air Force Blue, the brilliant winner of the Group 1 Dubai Dewhurst Stakes – the seven furlong Newmarket event which has been won by the subsequent Guineas hero twice in the last five years.

That crushing victory saw Air Force Blue crowned as Europe’s Champion Two-Year-Old and the continent’s best juvenile since Frankel in 2010.

Air Force Blue is one of nine entries for Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien, who has already landed this Classic a record seven times. The other eight entries include both the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf winner, Hit It A Bomb, and the Group 1 Criterium International scorer, Johannes Vermeer.

Further international entries of note include, from Ireland, Michael O’Callaghan’s easy Group 3 Killavullan Stakes winner, Blue de Vega, who represents two entries for the sponsors racing operation, Qatar Racing, and, from the yard of 27-time French Champion Trainer, Andre Fabre, the Group 1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere winner, Ultra.

John Gosden, the reigning British Champion Trainer, has yet to lift the QIPCO 2000 Guineas. He has the second most entries this year, his six-strong contingent being led by the Group 2 Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes winner, Foundation.

Another entry already proven at Group 2 level is Emotionless, a colt on the comeback trail following a knee operation. After his effortless success in the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster, he took part in a heavyweight clash with Air Force Blue in the Dubai Dewhurst Stakes only for injury to result in a last-place finish.

Charlie Appleby, trainer of Emotionless and Folkswood, said:

“Emotionless is in full work and is progressing weekly. He is coming on at such a pace that we could tip-toe him towards a Guineas trial but it wouldn’t worry me if he goes straight for the QIPCO 2000 Guineas as he is the type of horse that I know I can get fit at home.”

“He had a knee chip in his top knee joint removed cleanly and successfully and has been in work since just before the New Year.”

“He’s a big individual who had plenty of scope to fill out and that’s exactly what he’s done – he’s wintered very well. I always said that anything he achieved as a two-year-old would be a bonus.”

“Some people have questioned the level of his Champagne Stakes form but it’s unusual for a horse to win a Group 2 quite so easily and then not go on to prove itself a genuine Group 1 performer.”

“Air Force Blue was obviously very impressive in the Dubai Dewhurst but he’s already been beaten once, so he’s not unbeatable.”

“I have also got Folkswood in the race. He won a nice maiden in early August and then got sore shins, so I backed off him and put him away.”

“He has a lot to prove but we will look for a race for him in early spring to find out where we stand.”

2016 marks 350 years of making history for both Newmarket Racecourses and the town.  In celebration of this landmark anniversary, there will be a number of commemorative activities throughout the year both on course and in the town.