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Aidan O’Brien leaves big guns in QIPCO 2000 Guineas

30 Apr 2018

There remains 17 acceptors in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas, with 18 fillies standing ground in QIPCO 1000 Guineas.

Gustav Klimt wins on his return in the Ballylinch Stud 2000 Guineas Trial Stakes at Leopardstown. Picture: Racingfotos.com

Gustav Klimt and Saxon Warrior are among four five-day acceptors from the Aidan O’Brien stable as the Ballydoyle trainer bids to win the QIPCO 2000 Guineas for a ninth time at Newmarket on Saturday.

O’Brien is already the winning-most trainer in the colts’ Classic and Gustav Klimt, winner of the 2,000 Guineas Trial at Leopardstown on his reappearance, heads his strong team for the first Classic of the season, which is the first race in this year’s QIPCO British Champions Series.

Last season’s Superlative Stakes scorer is supported by Racing Post Trophy victor Saxon Warrior, US Navy Flag, who has disappointed twice since landing the Dewhurst Stakes in October, and Murillo.

The home challenge is headed by Craven winner Masar, from Charlie Appleby’s stable, and the Mark Johnston-trained Elarqam.

The latter is a product of two Guineas winners, the mighty Frankel and the brilliant Attraction. He won both his starts last season and looks an exciting prospect.

Connections of the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Expert Eye are hoping for good ground for the Acclamation colt, who went some way to restoring his reputation following his flop in the Dewhurst when second in the Greenham Stakes.

“I think we took a lot of positives from it. He behaved well and he went into the stalls well,” said Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to owner Khalid Abdullah.

“They didn’t go a great pace. He did pull a little bit, but not badly. Ryan (Moore) was relatively complimentary. He was happy with the horse and said not to be too disappointed.”

Greenham winner James Garfield is set to be George Scott’s first Classic runner and the same applies to Roger Teal with Tip Two Win, who chased home Elarqam in the Tattersalls Stakes at Newmarket in September.

John Gosden has left in the unbeaten Without Parole and Roaring Lion, beaten favourite in the Craven. Completing the confirmations are Headway, Hey Gaman, Nebo, Raid and Rajasinghe.

Ante-post favourite Happily is one of 18 fillies confirmed for the QIPCO 1000 Guineas at Newmarket on Sunday.

Aidan O’Brien’s charge won four of her seven juvenile starts, including successive Group One triumphs in the Moyglare Stud Stakes at the Curragh and the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere at Chantilly.

She disappointed on her most recent appearance at the Breeders’ Cup, but is the general 5-2 market leader to provide O’Brien with a fifth victory in the first fillies’ Classic of the campaign.

The Ballydoyle maestro has whittled his team down to five, with Bye Bye Baby, I Can Fly, Sarrocchi and Sizzling his other contenders. September is a notable absentee.

Charlie Appleby has left in Group One-winning filly Wild Illusion and has supplemented impressive Nell Gwyn heroine Soliloquy at a cost of £30,000.

The Fred Darling winner Dan’s Dream, trained by Mick Channon, has also been added to the field.