‘Faultless’ Air Force Blue tops field for 2,000 Guineas

Air Force Blue (Joseph O'Brien) winning the Keeneland

Air Force Blue: the odds-on favourite for the first Classic of the season

  PICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)  

AIR FORCE BLUE, hot-favourite for the Qipco 2,000 Guineas after rattling off a Group 1 treble at two, will face a maximum of 16 rivals in Saturday’s Classic.

Victories in the Phoenix Stakes, National Stakes and Dewhurst marked the son of War Front as the outstanding two-year-old last season and he is odds-on to stretch his unbeaten run to four on his first start at three on Saturday.

Air Force Blue’s big-race preparation has been “faultless” according to Coolmore’s UK representative Kevin Buckley, as he discussed the owner’s latest star at a pre-Guineas media event in Newmarket on Monday.

He added: “He’s wintered very well and we are all happy.”

Buratino, the last horse to beat Air Force Blue when landing the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot in June, is among his rivals, although the last time the pair met it ended with a comfortable success for the Guineas favourite in the Phoenix Stakes.

Stormy Antarctic, second-favourite after an easy win in the Craven Stakes on his return to action, remains on target to give trainer Ed Walker a chance of Classic success, while Lambourn’s big hope Massaat is also on course.

The Jim Bolger-trained Round Two, who had been as short as 20-1 for Saturday’s Classic, was the most notable absentee from the race on Monday, although stablemate Herald The Dawn remains in contention.

Along with Buratino and Herald The Dawn, Godolphin also have the Richard Fahey-trained Ribchester in the mix, while Aidan O’Brien could run Air Vice Marshal and Shogun along with the favourite.    

Prize Money and Washington DC were other notable absentees.

Jet-setting

Jet Setting: one of 17 fillies on course for Sunday’s 1,000 Guineas

  PICTURE: Caroline Norris  

Jet Setting added to 1,000 Guineas

As revealed by the Racing Post on Monday morning, the Adrian Keatley-trained Jet Setting has been added to Sunday’s Qipco 1,000 Guineas field at a cost of £30,000.

Her inclusion means a potential field of 17 are still in contention for the fillies’ Classic, including favourite Minding, well-regarded stablemate Ballydoyle and the Mark Johnston-trained Cheveley Park winner Lumiere.

Regarding favourite Minding and Ballydoyle, Buckley said: “I think Minding is the best. That’s what I’m thinking and I’m hearing.

“Ballydoyle is a very good filly and a Group 1 winner.”

Come Alive, Antonoe, First Victory and Thetis were among those scratched from the race.

Michael Prosser, clerk of the course at Newmarket, described the ground as “good” on Monday and expects it to be that way for Guineas weekend.

 

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