Kingsbarns: Racing Post Trophy winner ruled out of the 2,000 GuineasPICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Kingsbarns still in Derby picture despite setback
AIDAN O'BRIEN on Friday stressed that deposed Investec Derby favourite Kingsbarns is still part of the trainer's long-range Epsom team as he announced that plans to contest the Qipco 2,000 Guineas have now been abandoned.
The Racing Post Trophy winner has this week been uneasy in the Derby betting with the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Newmarket maiden winner Telescope promoted to market leadership by a number of bookmakers on Friday as Kingsbarns was pushed out to as big as 6-1.
The Kingsbarns drift has also coincided with sustained support for Ballydoyle stablemates Mars and Battle Of Marengo, who makes his seasonal return at Leopardstown on Sunday.
O'Brien, speaking to the Racing Post on Friday night, confirmed that Kingsbarns - who last month developed a foot infection after tearing off a shoe during a routine exercise - will not be able to run at Newmarket on May 4.
However, O'Brien said: "Kingsbarns is back riding out and cantering. He's also doing some swimming, and while we are playing catch up with him after his hold-up, we're hoping to have him ready to run in one of the Derby trials."
Ireland's champion trainer indicated that the Guineas is also under serious consideration for Mars, who won on the all-weather at Dundalk on his only start last season and is now as short as 6-1 for the Derby.
He said: "Mars is still very much in the picture for the Guineas although we haven't made a definite decision yet as to whether he will go to Newmarket or for one of the Derby trials instead.
"Lines Of Battle is also in the picture for Newmarket along with George Vancouver, Cristoforo Colombo and Pedro The Great. The picture about what we will run in the Guineas should be a bit clearer in about a week's time."
Very much under consideration for the Guineas are major British hopes Toronado and Dundonnell, who figure among 14 entries for Thursday's Novae Bloodstock Insurance Craven Stakes.
While Toronado is an intended runner for Richard Hannon - who plans to send stablemate Olympic Glory to Newbury's Greenham Stakes - the participation of Dundonnell hinges on the ground.