Qipco 2000 Guineas
Group 1, Newmarket 15:45
£498,750 added,
3yo only,
1m, Class 1
Saturday 7th May 2016

Air Force Blue is 8-1 (from 16-1) favourite with Coral for the Qipco 2,000 Guineas, following his impressive Phoenix Stakes success at the Curragh on August 9.

“Air Force Blue has enhanced trainer Aidan OBrien’s already superb Phoenix Stakes record and in the process has made his way to the head of the betting for next years Qipco 2,000 Guineas,” said Coral’s David Stevens.

Air Force Blue
© Caroline Norris
Air Force Blue

Aidan O'Brien's colt was sent off the 9-4 second-favourite in the Phoenix Stakes, having finished behind Buratino in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot.

That rival was in opposition again and there was enough confidence behind Mark Johnston's juvenile to see him start as the 11-10 market leader to confirm the form.

Buratino was in the perfect position to strike two furlongs from home, but he had no answer to Air Force Blue, who took off under Joseph O'Brien to win going away by two lengths.

Stablemate Washington DC, a Royal Ascot winner himself, beat Buratino for second.

O'Brien has now won eight of the last 11 runnings of the six-furlong Group One contest.

"He came forward well from Ascot. He won his maiden here and didn't learn a lot, and was a baby going to Ascot," said O'Brien.

"He settled, travelled and quickened up well today, and he was very professional.

"He put it to bed very quickly and he galloped out well. He has a few options now, including the Prix Morny."

The winner is the 8-1 favourite for the Guineas with Coral and RaceBets, halving in price.

O'Brien added: "It's good to see the form standing up. The second and third were both Ascot winners, and Washington DC has run a good race again. I'm very happy with him."

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© Racehorse Photos

The Prix Morny at Deauville remains the likely next port of call for Shalaa following his stunning display at Goodwood on July 30.

The John Gosden-trained colt finished last of eight on his Newbury debut in mid-May, but has since completed a hat-trick of victories and looked every inch a top-class juvenile when landing the Richmond Stakes on the Sussex Downs in the hands of Frankie Dettori.

Shalaa heads a formidable team of two-year-olds for leading owners Al Shaqab Racing, with Hugo Palmer's Vintage Stakes winner Galileo Gold and the Richard Hannon-trained Prix Robert Papin hero Gutaifan also in the mix for the some of the big prizes later in the year.

Al Shaqab's racing manager Harry Herbert said: "He (Shalaa) is special, isn't he? He's taken a while and as everyone knows his first run at Newbury was an absolute shocker.

"John Gosden was very happy with him before that race, he'd worked brilliantly at home, but he just didn't engage.

"At Newmarket he was almost running away with Frankie and you thought he'd fold in a heap and finish last, and he found another gear and won impressively. That was an exciting moment.

"The July Stakes is the July Stakes and I think what we saw last week is that the horse had really grown up mentally. That was seriously impressive.

"He'll go to France - he's a (Prix) Morny horse through and through, so long as the ground's not horrible and John Gosden is happy with him.

"He looks a very talented horse indeed. I know Frankie is immensely high on him and is hopeful he's a genuine Group One horse in the making."

Qipco 2000 Guineas Stakes 2015
(British Champions Series) (Group 1)
£498,750 added, 3yo only, 1m, Class 1
18 ran
Going: Good to Firm (Watered)

Pos Dr D Horse SP Jockey Weight Trainer Age
1st (16) Gleneagles (IRE) 4/1f R L Moore A P O'Brien 3
2nd (19) Territories (IRE) 5/1 M Barzalona
A Fabre 3
3rd (5) ¾ Ivawood (IRE) 10/1 R Hughes
R Hannon 3
4th (12) ½ Bossy Guest (IRE) 50/1 Charles Bishop
M R Channon 3
5th (1) 2 Celestial Path (IRE) 14/1 L Morris
Sir Mark Prescott 3
6th (17) Home Of The Brave (IRE) 25/1 James Doyle
H Palmer 3
7th (13) ¾ Dutch Connection 25/1 W Buick
C Hills 3
8th (15) s.h Moheet (IRE) 20/1 L Dettori
R Hannon 3
9th (3) nse Ride Like The Wind (IRE) 20/1 M Guyon
F Head 3
10th (9) ¾ Hail The Hero (IRE) 100/1 D Tudhope
D O'Meara 3
11th (10) ½ Cappella Sansevero 40/1 Andrea Atzeni
G M Lyons 3
12th (4) 1 Code Red 100/1 M Dwyer
W R Muir 3
13th (7) ½ Kool Kompany (IRE) 20/1 P J Dobbs
R Hannon 3
14th (6) Estidhkaar (IRE) 6/1 P Hanagan
R Hannon 3
15th (11) 1 Intilaaq (USA) 8/1 Dane O'Neill
R Varian 3
16th (8) 1 Room Key 100/1 J Fortune
Eve Johnson Houghton 3
17th (18) 6 Glenalmond (IRE) 66/1 K Fallon
K R Burke 3
18th (2) 27 Ol' Man River (IRE) 6/1 J P O'Brien
A P O'Brien 3
NR (14) Elm Park 10/1 9-0 A M Balding 3

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