Twelve entries for Aidan O’Brien in May’s QIPCO 2000 Guineas at Newmarket

March 5, 2021

Irish champion flat trainer Aidan O’Brien is responsible for 12 of the 72 entries for the QIPCO 2000 Guineas at Newmarket, England, on Saturday, 1 May 2021.

The first Classic race of the British flat season, which will be staged on Newmarket’s Rowley Mile course, will see the Irish handler bid for an incredible 10th QIPCO 2000 Guineas success.

The Ballydoyle team is headed by Europe’s top-rated juvenile of last season on 118, St Mark’s Basilica, a winner of the Group One Darley Dewhurst Stakes over the same course last season, when he defeated his stablemate Wembley by less than a length. The latter, rated 118, is also among the 2000 Guineas entries, meaning the Coolmore-owned pair are likely to clash again in May.

Battleground, by War Front and the first foal from former top-class mare Found, is also towards the top of the betting market for the 213th Newmarket 2000 Guineas. An impressive winner of both the Listed Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot the Group Two Vintage Stakes at Goodwood last season, he missed the Goffs Vincent O’Brien National Stakes at The Curragh, Ireland, in September, before finishing second in the Grade One Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Keeneland.

County Tipperary-based Aidan O’Brien also has the unbeaten Epsom Derby favourite High Definition (rated 115) and the Barronstown Stud-bred son of American Pharoah, Van Gogh (rated 114) entered in the race. The former is a son of Galileo, bred by O’Brien’s Whisperview Trading, while the latter won the Group 1 Critérium International at Saint-Cloud, France, at the end of his juvenile campaign.

O’Brien’s team, all owned by Coolmore partnerships, is completed by Admiral Nelson, Duke of Mantua, HMS Seahorse, Merchants Quay, Military Style, Roman Empire and Sandhurst.

Former Breeders’ Cup-winning rider, now trainer, Joseph O’Brien is responsible for four nominations: Isle of Sark, Snapraeterea, State Of Rest and Thunder Moon. The latter, winner of the Goffs Vincent O’Brien National Stakes at The Curragh in September, is the son of Coolmore stallion Zoffany and was also bred by Aidan O’Brien’s Whisperview Trading. Subsequent to his Group 1 victory in Ireland, the 117-rated colt finished two-and-a-half lengths behind St Mark’s Basilica in the seven-furlong Group 1 Darley Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket in his final race of last season. 

Speaking this week about his main QIPCO 2000 Guineas contender, the 28-year-old Joseph O’Brien said:

“Thunder Moon has wintered well and we are pleased with where we are. There is plenty of water still to go under the bridge yet but it is exciting to have a live contender for the 2000 Guineas. He is obviously a pretty quick horse on what he has done so far but he shapes as though a mile will be within compass so I don’t see the trip being a problem.”

Dual jumps and flat trainer Jessica Harrington has the third favourite in the current betting market in Cadillac. The Lope De Vega 114-rated colt won the Group 2 KPMG Juvenile Stakes (Breeders’ Cup Challenge Race) at Leopardstown on Longines Irish Champions Weekend on 12 September 2020. He was subsequently four-and-a-half lengths behind St Mark’s Basilica at Newmarket before being beaten three-and-three-quarter lengths by Fire At Will in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Keeneland last November.

An interesting entry is the Jim Bolger trained MacSwiney. The New Approach colt out of Halla na Saoirse (both horses were bred, owned and trained by Bolger), named after the former Lord Mayor of Cork in Ireland, won the Vertem Futurity Trophy on Doncaster in October 2020. The Group 1 victory was a day before the centenary anniversary of the Irish patriot’s death on hunger strike in London’s Brixton Prison on 25 October 1920. MacSwiney, rated 116 at the end of his juvenile season, holds a good form line with many of the O’Brien-trained horses.

In winning his maiden at The Curragh last year, he defeated subsequent Dewhurst Stakes runner-up Wembley by one-and-a-half lengths, with HMS Seahorse back in fourth. MacSwiney was beaten five-and-a-quarter lengths by Bolger’s training protégé Aidan O’Brien’s Military Style in the Group 3 Japan Racing Association Tyros Stakes at Leopardstown in early August, with Van Gogh second and Joseph O’Brien’s State of Rest back in fifth position.

Bolger’s MacSwiney then defeated Jessica Harrington’s 114-rated Cadillac by half a length in the Group 2 Galileo EBF Futurity Stakes at The Curragh a fortnight later. Joseph O’Brien’s Snapraetera and his father’s Van Gogh were fourth and sixth respectively in that race. 

MacSwiney ran a below par race in finishing a disappointing eight in the Group 1 Goffs Vincent O’Brien National Stakes, a race in which many of the current QIPCO 2000 Guineas entries competed. The previously mentioned Thunder Moon took the victory, followed home by Wembley and St Mark’s Basilica, while Lucky Vega (holding an entry at Newmarket for Jessica Harrington) was fifth with Military Style back in ninth.

QIPCO 2000 Guineas (Group 1) at Newmarket, England, on 1 May 2021

A Case of You (IRE) 3 9 0 Gary Devlin Adrian McGuinness

Admiral Nelson (GB) 3 9 0 Mr M. Tabor, D. Smith & Mrs John Magnier Aidan O’Brien

Akmaam (FR) 3 9 0 Mr Hamdan Al Maktoum Brian Meehan

Albadri (IRE) 3 9 0 Alsharq racing Jane Chapple-Hyam

Albasheer (IRE) 3 9 0 Mr Hamdan Al Maktoum Owen Burrows

Ataser (GB) 3 9 0 Guaymas T. J. Kent

Baradar (IRE) 3 9 0 Amo Racing Limited Roger Varian

Battleground (USA) 3 9 0 Mr M. Tabor, D. Smith & Mrs John Magnier Aidan O’Brien

Belloccio (FR) 3 9 0 All for One Racing David Menuisier

Cadillac (IRE) 3 9 0 Alpha Racing 2020 Mrs J. Harrington

Chez Pierre (FR) 3 9 0 Mr R. Jackson Francis-Henri Graffard

Chindit (IRE) 3 9 0 Mr Michael Pescod Richard Hannon

Devilwala (IRE) 3 9 0 Amo Racing Limited & Arjun Waney Ralph Beckett

Duke of Mantua (IRE) 3 9 0 Mrs John Magnier,Mr M.Tabor & Mr D.Smith Aidan O’Brien

El Drama (IRE) 3 9 0 Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum Roger Varian

Encounter Order (IRE) 3 9 0 Mr Abdulla Al Mansoori Ismail Mohammed

Etonian (IRE) 3 9 0 Mrs J. Wood Richard Hannon

Existent (GB) 3 9 0 Cheveley Park Stud John Gosden

Fancy Man (IRE) 3 9 0 Mr Michael Pescod Richard Hannon

Fundamental (GB) 3 9 0 Cheveley Park Stud John Gosden

Guru (GB) 3 9 0 Lady Bamford John Gosden

High Definition (IRE) 3 9 0 D Smith/Mrs.J Magnier/M Tabor/Westerberg Aidan O’Brien

Highland Avenue (IRE) 3 9 0 Godolphin Charlie Appleby

Hms Seahorse (IRE) 3 9 0 Mr M. Tabor, D. Smith & Mrs John Magnier Aidan O’Brien

Ilza’eem (FR) 3 9 0 KHK Racing Ltd & Shaikh Duaij Al Khalifa Simon & Ed Crisford

Insomnia (GB) 3 9 0 REBEL RACING PREMIER III Richard Spencer

Isle of Sark (USA) 3 9 0 Teme Valley Joseph Patrick O’Brien

Jadoomi (FR) 3 9 0 Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum Simon & Ed Crisford

King Vega (GB) 3 9 0 Apollo Racing & DTA Racing Andrew Balding

King Zain (IRE) 3 9 0 Mr Jaber Abdullah Mark Johnston

Laneqash (GB) 3 9 0 Mr Hamdan Al Maktoum Roger Varian

Latest Generation (GB) 3 9 0 Sheikh Rashid Dalmook Al Maktoum Simon & Ed Crisford

Legion of Honour (GB) 3 9 0 Teme Valley 2 Roger Varian

Lucky Vega (IRE) 3 9 0 Zhang Yuesheng Mrs J. Harrington

Mac Swiney (IRE) 3 9 0 Mrs J. S. Bolger J. S. Bolger

Master of The Seas (IRE) 3 9 0 Godolphin Charlie Appleby

Megallan (GB) 3 9 0 Mr A. E. Oppenheimer John Gosden

Mehmento (IRE) 3 9 0 Hambleton Racing XLVI & Partner Archie Watson

Merchants Quay (FR) 3 9 0 Mr D. Smith, Mrs J. Magnier, Mr M. Tabor Aidan O’Brien

Method (IRE) 3 9 0 Manton Park Racing Martyn Meade

Military Style (USA) 3 9 0 Mrs John Magnier,Mr M.Tabor & Mr D.Smith Aidan O’Brien

Mithras (GB) 3 9 0 Haras de Saint Pair John Gosden

Mujbar (GB) 3 9 0 Mr Hamdan Al Maktoum Charles Hills

Mystery Smiles (IRE) 3 9 0 King Power Racing Co Ltd Andrew Balding

Nando Parrado (GB) 3 9 0 Mrs Marie McCartan Clive Cox

Naval Crown (GB) 3 9 0 Godolphin Charlie Appleby

Noble Dynasty (GB) 3 9 0 Godolphin Charlie Appleby

One Ruler (IRE) 3 9 0 Godolphin Charlie Appleby

Parchemin (IRE) 3 9 0 Godolphin S.N.C. A. Fabre

Percy’s Lad (GB) 3 9 0 JD Partnership Eve Johnson Houghton

Poetic Flare (IRE) 3 9 0 Mrs J. S. Bolger J. S. Bolger

Prince Lancelot (GB) 3 9 0 A. Gilibert Fabrice Chappet

Rhythm Master (IRE) 3 9 0 John and Jess Dance Richard Fahey

Rifleman (IRE) 3 9 0 Mrs J Magnier, Mr M Tabor & Mr D Smith John Gosden

Rogue Force (IRE) 3 9 0 The Rogues Gallery Tom Clover

Roman Empire (IRE) 3 9 0 Mr M. Tabor, D. Smith & Mrs John Magnier Aidan O’Brien

Royal Air Force (IRE) 3 9 0 Mr Edward J. Ware Simon & Ed Crisford

Royal Champion (IRE) 3 9 0 Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum Roger Varian

Royal Scimitar (IRE) 3 9 0 AlMohamediya Racing Clive Cox

Sandhurst (IRE) 3 9 0 Mrs John Magnier,Mr M.Tabor & Mr D.Smith Aidan O’Brien

Sayf Al Dawla (GB) 3 9 0 Ms Sally Elizabeth Wall Peter Chapple-Hyam

Secret Protector (USA) 3 9 0 Godolphin Charlie Appleby

Snapraeterea (IRE) 3 9 0 J.P. Farrell Joseph Patrick O’Brien

State of Rest (IRE) 3 9 0 Teme Valley Joseph Patrick O’Brien

St Mark’s Basilica (FR) 3 9 0 Mr D. Smith, Mrs J. Magnier, Mr M. Tabor Aidan O’Brien

The Attorney (IRE) 3 9 0 Mr Ziad A. Galadari Charles Hills

The Rosstafarian (IRE) 3 9 0 Middleham Park Racing LXXXVII Hugo Palmer

Thunder Moon (IRE) 3 9 0 Mrs C. C. Regalado-Gonzalez Joseph Patrick O’Brien

Van Gogh (USA) 3 9 0 M Tabor/D Smith/Mrs Magnier/Mrs Nagle Aidan O’Brien

Wembley (IRE) 3 9 0 Mr M. Tabor, D. Smith & Mrs John Magnier Aidan O’Brien

Xaario (FR) 3 9 0 Mr Abdullah Almaddah David Menuisier

Youth Spirit (IRE) 3 9 0 Ahmad Al Shaikh Andrew Balding 

Breandán Ó hUallacháin, Contributor

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Breandán Ó hUallacháin

Breandán Ó hUallacháin writes about Irish, British, French and Australian horseracing, both National Hunt and Flat. He has an interest in the history of racing...

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