Classic clues as Moore partners Gustav Klimt and The Pentagon
The world's most famous jumps race might take centre stage on a sensational Saturday of racing, but remember the Qipco 2,000 Guineas is only three weeks away and one of the leading fancies is warming up for the first Classic of the season at Leopardstown with Ryan Moore on board.
Gustav Klimt is no bigger than 8-1 for the Newmarket showpiece on the first Saturday of May following his remarkable success in the Superlative Stakes last July where he snatched victory from the jaws of defeat having met traffic congestion at a crucial stage.
"Gustav Klimt is just about ready to start off. Obviously we are hoping that he will come on for the run. He missed the second half of last year and he has not been out in a long time," said Aidan O'Brien.
The world-record holding trainer has won the Listed Ballylinch Stud 2,000 Guineas Trial Stakes, now over 7f rather than 1m, for the last two years on the trot with Orderofthegarter (2017) and Black Sea (2016) and it is long odds-on he will complete the hat-trick as U S Navy Flag and Kenya join Gustav Klimt in the four-runner field.
"U S Navy Flag is in good form and, like Gustav Klimt, he is just ready to start. He would prefer better ground but we wanted to get him out. He seems in good form, as does Kenya who won his final two starts as a two-year-old," O'Brien added.
Dermot Weld is the only trainer taking on O'Brien with Imaging, who swooped late and fast to make a winning return on heavy ground at Cork last month.
"He is very versatile ground-wise and I have been happy with the horse since Cork," said Weld.
Not only are there 2,000 Guineas clues on offer at Leopardstown but also Derby ones as The Pentagon, generally a 7-1 shot for the Epsom Classic, puts his reputation on the line in the Group 3 Ballysax Stakes under Ryan Moore.
"The Pentagon in good shape and ready to start. He does not want this sort of ground but we need to get him out and started and that is why he is coming here," said O'Brien.
Nelson might appear to be the Ballydoyle second string on jockey bookings but O'Brien is confident that he will handle the underfoot conditions,
O'Brien said: "I actually think Nelson might handle the ground. He has gone well with an ease in the ground in the past and he seems in good form. Delano Roosevelt seemed to handle an ease in the ground at Naas last year so hopefully he will cope with conditions too.
Ger Lyons’ Listed-placed runner Lethal Steps and Burgundy Boy, who makes his debut for Dermot Weld after finishing fourth in a pair of Group 3 events on his final two starts of 2017, form the main opposition.
"Burgundy Boy is a nice horse, a good-actioned horse and he would be the most backward of the three runners in the trial races. I would expect him to come forward a good bit from the run. He will be a top of the ground horse," Weld said.
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