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Age no barrier for Air Force Blue

29 Apr 2016

Aidan O’Brien-trained colt will become youngest 2000 Guineas winner since 1992 if successful in opening Classic

Air Force Blue will seek to join an elite band at Newmarket tomorrow by winning the QIPCO 2000 Guineas before his third birthday.

All racehorses become a year older on January 1 but that masks their true ages and it can be a significant factor, especially among two-year-olds. For instance, a juvenile foaled in early January would be expected to be more forward than one born in the spring.

Air Force Blue entered the world on May 2 and, if successful in this weekend’s QIPCO British Champions Series curtain-raiser, will becomes the youngest 2000 Guineas winner since Rodrigo De Triano, the 1992 hero, who was born on May 27.

No Guineas winner since Rodrigo De Triano, who was ridden by Lester Piggott and trained by Peter Chapple-Hyam, has been foaled in May.

Will Air Force Blue be at a disadvantage because of his age?

The answer has to be an unequivocal no because if maturity were going to be an issue it would surely have held him back last year.

Clearly that wasn’t the case as he reeled off a hat-trick of Group One wins, although Aidan O’Brien did suggest the colt was still “babyish” when beaten in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot when little more than two years and a month.

Buratino, his conqueror that day, was two months older and had the advantage of five previous outings. When the pair met again, almost two months later at the Curragh, Air Force Blue handsomely got his revenge.

DAYS THAT 2000 GUINEAS WERE BORN

2000 King’s Best – January 24

2001 Golan – February 24

2002 Rock Of Gibraltar – March 8

2003 Refuse To Bend – March 17

2004 Haafhd – February 18

2005 Footstepsinthesand – February 15

2006 George Washington – March 1

2007 Cockney Rebel – March 16

2008 Henrythenavigator – February 28

2009 Sea The Stars – April 6

2010 Makfi – March 4

2011 Frankel – February 11

2012 Camelot – March 5

2013 Dawn Approach – April 23

2014 Night Of Thunder – March 12

2015 Gleneagles – January 12