The QIPCO Two Thousand Guineas (Eng-I) drew a full field of 14 for the first jewel of England's Triple Crown May 3 at Newmarket, with Juddmonte Farms' unbeaten homebred Kingman
the pre-race favorite.
A son of Invincible Spirit, Kingman went to the top of pre-race wagering following his 4 1/2-length triumph in the Greenham Stakes (Eng-III) April 12 at Newbury in his third career start and seasonal debut. His initial race last June at Newmarket produced a scintillating six-length triumph, and the colt followed up with an easy two-length triumph, albeit over only three rivals, in the Solario Stakes (Eng-III) in August at Sandown.
A Guineas win by Kingman would give trainer John Gosden his first win in the classic. He is the 5-4 choice with bookmaker Ladbrokes.
The race on the straight Rowley Mile also attracted two from trainer Aidan O'Brien in his highly regarded Australia
, a group III-winning son of Galileo
and United States and European champion Ouija Board
who is bidding for a third straight win; and 2013 Dewhurst Stakes (Eng-I) winner War Command
, a War Front
colt. Both runners start for the first time this year.
Trainer Richard Hannon will send out Toormore
, an Arakan
colt who was an impressive two-length victor in the Craven Stakes (Eng-III) last month at Newmarket.
Trainer Charlie Appleby entered Godolphin's Outstrip
, an Exceed And Excel
colt who has not raced since taking the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (gr. IT) in November at Santa Anita Park
Speaking at a pre-race luncheon for the QIPCO Guineas Festival, Gosden said the Guineas field has shaped up for a good race.
"Australia is being talked of as a horse who is head and shoulders above the rest at Ballydoyle," he said. "Every year in the Northern Hemisphere at (O'Brien's Ballydoyle in Ireland) is the best collection of 3-year-olds that can be seen, and the fact he is outclassing them all has got to be significant.
"I like the Craven winner (Toormore). I think he is one of those really tough horses; if you go by him, you will know you have had a race.
"There's a lot of depth—there's Roger Varian's Racing Post Trophy (Eng-I) winner (Kingston Hill). It's a proper Guineas."
Because Kingman had ankle surgery over the winter, Gosden said that he would take a chance with him on fast ground. The lack of rain in the Newmarket area has been a concern, although showers were forecast.
"We would have preferred the rain, but we haven't had much rain," Gosden said. "You look at everywhere else and it's soft or heavy. We are lucky we are racing on decent ground. As long as the ground is close to good, that's fine. I just don't want to run on firm."