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Gleneagles leads Guineas contenders





Ante-post favourite Gleneagles tops 34 possibles for the Qipco 2000 Guineas at Newmarket on May 2 following the latest scratching stage.

The highly-talented colt won his last five starts only to be demoted after finishing first past the post in the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere at Longchamp in October.

His trainer Aidan O'Brien has trimmed down his entry to four with Highland Reel, Ol' Man River and War Envoy still standing after the defection of the likes of John F Kennedy after he was surprisingly beaten on his seasonal debut.

Other Irish possibles are Ger Lyons' Cappella Sansevero and Endless Drama plus the Dermot Weld-trained Zawraq.

British hopes that remain in line for the Classic include Andrew Balding's Racing Post Trophy winner Elm Park, the Richard Hannon-trained foursome of Estidhkaar, Ivawood, Craven scorer Kool Kompany and Moheet.

Muhaarar, winner of the Greenham Stakes at Newbury for Charlie Hills, stands his ground as does John Quinn's Prix Morny victor, The Wow Signal.

French trainer Freddy Head, sent out Charm Spirit to finish fifth 12 months ago, and is expecting his second 2000 Guineas runner Ride Like The Wind to do himself justice.

"He has done very well since his last race, his work has been good, and I think that he has improved a bit," said Head.

"He is on the same sort of level as Charm Spirit was at this time last year. They are similar horses in that they tend to be a bit keen and if Ride Like The Wind settles better than Charm Spirit did last year, I think that he has a good chance."

"That is why I have given him two runs already this season, to get the freshness out of him before the Guineas."

"I was very happy with his Prix Djebel victory. He settled then quickened well and it was to his credit that he won despite being held up at the back of the field when the pace was slow."

"The undulations at Newmarket won't be a problem for him and although seven furlongs is a good trip for him at the moment, I think that he will stay a mile as long as he relaxes and gets a good run. He needs good or good to firm ground."

One who could be added to the field is Godolphin's Territories, who has pleased Andre Fabre since winning a Group Three at Longchamp recently.

"Territories has come out of his trial very well and has come on for the run," Fabre told www.godolphin.com.

"At this stage, a supplementary entry in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket is under serious consideration and we are 90% certain to take that route, subject to the horse continuing to please me.

"We will monitor the weather forecast and going conditions closely as he is a horse who prefers genuinely good ground. He is more likely to get his favoured ground conditions at Newmarket than at Longchamp a week later."

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