City Of Troy Stars Among 14 In 2,000 Guineas; Fallen Angel One Of 20 In Fillies' Equivalent

City Of Troy | Racingfotos.com

Following Monday's confirmation stage, City Of Troy (Justify) remains the standout name among 14 colts who have stood their ground for Saturday's G1 Qipco 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket.

Unbeaten in three starts as a two-year-old, G1 Dewhurst S. winner City Of Troy is the odds-on favourite to provide trainer Aidan O'Brien with a record-extending 11th success in the first British Classic of the season. O'Brien also has G1 National S. winner Henry Longfellow (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) still engaged, plus G2 Champions Juvenile S. hero Diego Velazquez (Ire) (Frankel {GB}) and G2 Coventry S. winner River Tiber (Ire) (Wootton Bassett {GB}), although there remains a high likelihood that City Of Troy will be the sole runner from Ballydoyle.

G1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere winner Rosallion (Ire) (Blue Point {Ire}) and Ghostwriter (Ire) (Invincible Spirit {Ire}), who won the G2 Royal Lodge S. over the same course and distance as the 2,000 Guineas last September, spearhead the home challenge, along with a pair of unexposed all-weather graduates in Night Raider (Ire) (Dark Angel {Ire}) and Notable Speech (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}).

“He's a lovely animal and, whatever he does on Saturday, he's going to keep improving through the year,” trainer Karl Burke said of Night Raider. “He's got a lot of scope and I'm sure he's a Group 1 horse in the making.

“I don't think I've seen a horse work better up the Polytrack in Middleham in the 23 years we've been here. He's just got an awfully high cruising speed and he can quicken off it as well. Clifford Lee rode him for the first time in a long time this morning and he said it's like driving a car with 10 gears–every time you time you move on him he goes forward.

“I'm really looking forward to seeing him run and there's no real pressure with him. There's a few horses with bigger reputations than him going into it and hopefully we can burst a few balloons.”

Notable Speech is set to be the only runner for trainer Charlie Appleby, who has decided not to confirm his G1 Futurity Trophy winner Ancient Wisdom {Fr}) (Dubawi {Ire}) as he seeks a second victory in the 2,000 Guineas after that of Coroebus (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) in 2022. Bucanero Fuerte (GB) (Wootton Bassett {GB}), who won the G1 Phoenix S. as a juvenile, was another notable absentee at the five-day entry stage.

In Sunday's G1 Qipco 1,000 Guineas, G2 Duchess Of Cambridge S. winner Persian Dreamer (Calyx {GB}) and Paddy Twomey's highly regarded One Look (Ire) (Gleneagles {Ire}) failed to appear among 20 fillies still in contention on Monday.

Richard Fahey's Pretty Crystal (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) has been supplemented at a cost of £30,000, setting up a rematch with the filly who chased her home in the G3 Nell Gwyn S. earlier this month, Dance Sequence (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}).

Appleby is also responsible for Meydan Listed winner Cinderella's Dream (GB) (Shamardal), but Dance Sequence looks to be the stable's first string, behind only Group 1-winning juveniles Fallen Angel (GB) (Too Darn Hot {GB}) and Ylang Ylang (GB) (Frankel {GB}) in the ante-post betting.

Fillies' Mile winner Ylang Ylang is sure to have plenty of supporters for the Ballydoyle team which is seeking an eighth win in the 1,000 Guineas, but Burke is unflinching in his belief in Fallen Angel, who ended a productive two-year-old campaign with victory in the Moyglare Stud S. at the Curragh when Ylang Ylang was down the field.

“I think they've got us to beat, I really do,” said Burke. “I know Ballydoyle will give you plenty of excuses for Ylang Ylang's defeat in the Moyglare, but she's got nine or 10 lengths to make up on us.

“Obviously Charlie's filly [Dance Sequence] got beat the other day and that form doesn't look strong enough to win a Guineas. I'm sure Charlie's horse will improve, but on all known form I think we deserve to be favourite. Fallen Angel is very versatile ground-wise, anything from soft to good to firm would suit–I think the ground will be perfect whatever it is.”

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