Fifteen declared for 2000 Guineas but St Mark’s Basilica bypasses Newmarket – Racing TV

Fifteen declared for 2000 Guineas but St Mark’s Basilica bypasses Newmarket  Racing TV

Aidan O’Brien’s trio of Battleground, Van Gogh and Wembley are among 15 colts declared for the Qipco 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.

The Ballydoyle handler has a record 10 victories in the opening Classic of the season and launches another formidable assault on Saturday.

Wembley is officially the highest-rated of his three runners, and on what will be his first appearance since being touched off by stable companion St Mark’s Basilica in the Dewhurst at Newmarket in October.

Battleground was last seen when second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, while Van Gogh has been off the track since landing Group One honours in the Criterium International at Saint-Cloud.

Classic-winning trainer Joseph O’Brien – son of Aidan and winner of this race as a jockey aboard Camelot nine years ago – has a leading contender this time in Thunder Moon. The son of Zoffany beat Wembley in last season’s National Stakes at the Curragh, but was behind that same rival when third in the Dewhurst.

Will Lucky Vega last the distance? Jessica Harrington gives the latest on her Group One winner and Classic contender

Jessica Harrington’s Lucky Vega and Jim Bolger’s Poetic Flare complete the Irish contingent.

Bolger did not, however, declare Vertem Futurity Trophy winner Mac Swiney.

“They are both very well. It was a tight question as to which would go as I only want to run one, in which case Mac Swiney will go to either the French Guineas or the Derrinstown at Leopardstown,” Bolger told Nick Luck’s Daily Podcast.

“It was nothing to do with the ground, but having said that I always favour good ground because it’s safe for horse and rider.

“Poetic Flare always looked very smart and won the first two-year-old race of the year, but then he decided he wasn’t big enough and he began to grow, which didn’t stop until July.

“I didn’t have him cherry-ripe for the Dewhurst and it transpired he needed the race.

Mutasaabeq is bred to win a Classic – can he record a poignant success for the late Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum at Newmarket?

“I wouldn’t be that good a trainer that I could tell you how fit he was first time out, but what I can tell you is he has improved massively since then. A mile will be no problem.

“Dawn Approach winning (in 2013) was very satisfying and I have the same confidence in this horse.”

The home team includes three Charlie Appleby-trained hopefuls in One Ruler, Master Of The Seas and Naval Crown.

Naval Crown inflicted a shock defeat on Master Of The Seas in Dubai earlier in the year, but the latter bounced back to winning ways in the Craven Stakes over the Guineas course and distance two weeks ago.

William Buick has decided to stick with Master Of The Seas this weekend, so James Doyle takes the ride on One Ruler, who rounded off his two-year-old campaign by finishing second in the Vertem Futurity Trophy at Doncaster.

The Charlie Hills-trained Mutasaabeq was mightily impressive when winning a conditions race at the Craven meeting and that ultimately led to connections supplementing for the Guineas earlier this week.

Richard Hannon’s Greenham Stakes winner Chindit, Ralph Beckett’s Devilwala, Roger Varian’s Legion Of Honour, Mystery Smiles from the Andrew Balding yard and Jane Chapple-Hyam’s rank outsider Albadri are the other hopefuls.

We’ve teamed up with the Flat experts at Timeform to bring you a FREE copy of their latest book – 50 Flat Horses to Follow throughout the 2021 season. Click here to claim yours for FREE!