The first Classic of the season has two prominent market leaders. However, Aidan O’Brien’s talented juvenile Mars could upset the form and land the Qipco 2000 Guineas crown.
O’Brien has three chances vying for glory on the Rowley Mile, with Cristoforo Colombo and George Vancouver also entering the contest with claims.
However, Mars’ make-up arguably puts the son of Galileo at the forefront of the trio for a trainer bidding to win a seventh renewal title and his fifth in the last nine years.
At 6/1 he’s attractively priced behind leading fancies, the Champion Juvenile Dawn Approach, and Craven Stakes winner Toronado.
Although he’s been limited to just one appearance – last summer’s impressive win at Dundalk when overcoming an unfavourable draw – there has already been talk of Mars becoming a leading Derby contender.
That victory was over a furlong less than the upcoming showpiece’s distance but the step up in trip should hold no reservations.
Prior to the sensational Camelot’s 2000 Guineas score for O’Brien last year, the trainer’s three previous winners had successfully negotiated the extra distance at the first attempt.
And with positive vibes emanating from Ballydoyle and beyond, it’s not difficult to see Mars following suit.
Of course, Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner George Vancouver has already mastered 8f on the turf of Santa Anita.
His 14/1 price shouldn’t be ignored and fast ground could suit once again for the chance sired by 2008’s event victor, Henrythenavigator.
But Mars has leapt to the forefront of O’Brien’s triple threat for a reason and the Irish saddler no doubt expects his charge to strip fitter on his seasonal reappearance.
Following that maiden victory across the water last July, O’Brien said: “He won nicely and will come on for it.”
With recent stable form like his in this Classic curtain-raiser it’s difficult to ignore the clamour surrounding Mars ahead of his impending outing.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.