AIDAN O’Brien has issued upbeat bulletins regarding his main 1000 and 2000 Guineas contenders.
Both Cheveley Park heroine Tenebrism and Futurity Trophy winner Luxembourg were awarded ratings of 115 in the European two-year-old classifications, 7lb behind champion juvenile Native Trail.
Tenebrism made an impressive winning debut at Naas in March then returned from 181 days off the track to claim a Group 1 on just her second start at Newmarket.
O’Brien said: “We were happy enough, they (last year’s juveniles) started nice and the likes of Tenebrism finished well. She’ll head down the Guineas route. Looking at her in the Cheveley Park as a two-year-old, you’d think there was a good chance of her staying seven furlongs and if she could do that at two, there’s a good chance she might get a mile at three.”
Luxembourg is unbeaten in three, having also won a Killarney maiden and the Beresford Stakes, which has a rich history.
“Luxembourg is straightforward and he’ll be trained for the classics. He’ll be on the Guineas programme and we’ll see after that. Everything is going to plan so far,” said O’Brien. “Along with Point Lonsdale, they were the most precocious at two and you’d imagine they should get middle distances at three.
“There aren’t too many races for the horses before the Guineas. We have the trials at Leopardstown and we often use it for those which are not as exposed and we use it for experience. The Craven and those other races just come a bit close.”
O’Brien also spoke highly of Tuesday, a once-raced maiden who is a full-sister to Minding. She was beaten a short head by Discoveries on her only outing.
“This filly was more forward as a two-year-old than her sister, but she was a late foal which was why she has changed so much physically,” he said.
“We always thought a lot of her and everything she did at home was very nice. It is an advantage she’s had a run and might not be a disadvantage that she is still a maiden.”
THE HANDICAPPERS’ HORSES TO FOLLOW
Desert Crown (GB) 3yo b c Natahaniel – Desert Berry (Sir M Stoute)
Winner of a Nottingham maiden in November by five and a half lengths. The time reads well and he would be expected to improve with time and a stepup in trip.
Eldar Eldarov (GB) 3yo b c Dubawi – All At Sea (Roger Varian)
Cost £480,000 at the breeze-up sales, he is another Nottingham maiden winner with a smart middle-distance pedigree. He clocked a strong time in his five-length maiden win. I can see this fellow improving with time and I’d expect him to be targeted at a Derby trial.
New London (IRE) 3yo b c Dubawi – Brecon Beacons (Charlie Appleby)
Less eye-catching than the other two, he had to overcome clear greenness to win a 10-furlong Newmarket maiden in October. The placed horses are rated in the mid-80s, so this was a decent effort given his lack of know-how. He is related to Masked Marvel, so should have plenty of stamina.
Dr Zempf (GB) 3yo gr c Dark Angel – Souvenir Delondres
Ger Lyons sent three horses to Newmarket last autumn for big races and had no joy. Time will tell of Straight Answer, Sacred Bridge and Dr Zempf just had off-days or are below top-class. Of the three, I am holding a candle for Dr Zempf, who could be a Commonwealth Cup horse.
Atomic Jones (FR) 3yo b/br c Wootton Bassett – Loyale
He won on Irish Champions Weekend but he is only rated 104 and unbeaten, so he is still something of a dark horse. He looks the type to progress from two to three.
Hermana Estrella (IRE) 3yo b f Starspangledbanner – The Last Sister (Fozzy Stack)
She made a winning debut in a Group 3 race at Naas in May and the form was franked at Royal Ascot by the runner-up Quick Suzy. She clearly had issues afterwards as she did not race again but I believe she is back in training. She might be a sprinter and may have a preference for soft ground, but she clearly has potential having achieved a rating of 106 on her first run.
Piz Badile (IRE) 3yo b/br c Ulysses – That Which Is Not (Donnacha O’Brien)
Of the staying types, this Killarney maiden winner could be one to note. He finished a close second in a Group 3 race on his only other start. Whether he will improve enough to win a Derby remains to be seen but he should improve on his 105 rating.