The planets have realigned and everything is back to normal again in the world of racing. An Aidan O’Brien horse is antepost favourite for the 2000 Guineas.
It should be of little surprise that the master of Ballydoyle landed the Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh, considering he has taken 15 of the last 19 renewals.
And in Air Force Blue, the Coolmore team have a real 2000 Guineas candidate on their hands.
In scorching to a 2l victory at the County Kildare track, the son of War Front saw himself cut from 16/1 to head the market for the Classic as an 8/1 shot.
The 6f contest is one that has been used by O’Brien in the past to plot Newmarket glory, with George Washington doing the double in 2005-06, and Henrythenavigator finishing second in 2007 before landing the Guineas the following May.
His potential representative of such a chance this time round has improved with every run so far, and in recording a Group 1 success at the first time of asking thoroughly made up for his defeat in the Coventry Stakes.
He showed a taking turn of foot in breezing past the opposition under Joseph O’Brien to score from stable-mate Washington DC.
Back in third was his Royal Ascot conqueror Buratino, who was subsequently pushed out from 14/1 to 20/1 for the Guineas.
The fact that the winner edged slightly right when his jockey urged him along in the latter stages could hint at a sign of greenness and that with more racing under his belt, further improvement may be forthcoming.
A crack at the Prix Morny at Deauville has been mooted for his next option, a race O’Brien has not won since 2001, coincidentally with fellow Phoenix Stakes victor Johannesburg.
As is often the case, a lot can happen in the world of racing, especially when the markets for Classics are concerned, but for now the Ballydoyle behemoth is leading the way to Guineas glory.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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