Air Force Blue ready for Guineas take-off


Aidan O'Brien is optimistic that Air Force Blue can handle the step up in trip and give him a record 2000 Guineas victory at Newmarket.

O'Brien was in the winner's enclosure at the famous Suffolk course, celebrating its 350th anniversary this year, for a joint-record seventh time after Gleneagles won the first Classic of the flat racing season 12 months ago.

Prolific Irish trainer O'Brien stands every chance of saddling a record eighth 2000 Guineas victor this weekend with the exciting odds-on favourite Air Force Blue.

The classy colt has been billed as a Ballydoyle superstar after landing a hat-trick of Group One victories last year and is expected to show his class under jockey Ryan Moore, who completed a 1000 and 2000 Guineas double aboard Legatissimo and Gleneagles in 2015.

O'Brien has high hopes that his charge will show what all the fuss is about once again in the prestigious race over a mile at headquarters

"He's always been very quick and has a lot of natural speed, that's why we are hoping he gets a mile," said O'Brien.

"Obviously this will be the acid test as it's his first run over a mile, we'll probably learn a lot about him.

"Those seven-furlong two-year-old races are like enhanced sprints and it is a searching mile at Newmarket. You'd have to be hopeful that he will get it, but you can never be sure until they do it on the day.

"He's a good, fast horse. He's a horse who loves his work, enjoys his work and wants to please all the time. He's a very easy horse to train and I suppose the problem we have with him is over-training him.

"So far everything has gone well. Everyone saw last year he's a good traveller who quickens well. He's very relaxed and not influenced by anything at home, he's a nice independent thinker and is not a heavy-bodied horse. He covers the ground easily and economically. He really is a joy to train."

The Ed Walker-trained Stormy Antarctic is among the rivals attempting to deny O'Brien a historic victory and was an impressive winner in the Craven Stakes at Newmarket this month.

Frankie Dettori expects Galileo Gold, trained by Hugo Palmer, to run a big race on the Rowley Mile, while O'Brien also saddles outsider Air Vice Marshal.