Luxembourg and Point Lonsdale aided Aidan O’Brien as the Ballydoyle master sought his 11th success in the Qipco 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.
The son of O’Brien’s 2012 winner, Camelot, Luxembourg was undefeated in three starts as a minor and has competed with his own males with victory in the Vertem Futurity Trophy at Doncaster in October.
Of course, Camelot went on to win Guineas and Derby, with Luxembourg topping the crowning list before being narrowly denied a Triple Crown in St Leger.
Like his son, Luxembourg is expected to hit the road on the trip later this year, but O’Brien is happy to take his first bow at Classic glory ahead of the Rowley Mile.
“We are very happy with Luxembourg and things have gone well along the way with him,” said O’Brien.
“He was absent from Curragh five weeks ago and we are pleased with what he did and we are pleased with everything since then.
“We’ve seen in his three runs last season that he’s a tall cruiser and he obviously won over a mile last year. Obviously a big claim to catch. His head was in Guineas and he looked like he was going to be a long distance horse, but we started similar horses like Camelot and Australia in Guineas.
“We think and hope that is the right place to start. He seems to be in good form and we will learn a lot from him.”
With Ryan Moore on Luxembourg’s side, Frankie Dettori arrived to ride on Point Lonsdale, who lost his undefeated record by finishing second to Guineas favorite Indigenous Trail at Curragh in the final game to start in second.
He is second only to his steady friend in the Epsom market, and O’Brien added: “Point Lonsdale is also in good form and he has also left Curragh.
“He didn’t run more than seven feathers, but we always thought he would stay.
“Things have gone well for him and we’ve been happy with him since Curragh.”
Dettori has a good track record in major racing in partnership with O’Brien, and said on his blog for the Sporting Index: “I know Point Lonsdale pretty well even though I don’t ride him. He beat me to it. at Chesham last year when I was on Reach For The Moon and he seemed like a pretty straight forward horse.
“He was fairly beaten by the Native Trail at the National Stakes, but a lot can change between two and three. More than six months have passed since then and Aidan’s record in Guineas is second to none. match.
“I won 1000 on the second series, Mother Earth, last year so I’m pretty hopeful for another big spin this time. Native Trail sets a very high bar for us to beat, but I’ll think about it. about that I can downplay his colors.You have to be aggressive.
“As for the draw, we’re in 11th place, but I don’t think it’s too important this year to have only 15 athletes. Point Lonsdale seems very outspoken so I think he can adapt. whatever happens.”
Perfect Power attempted the mile for the first time, after succeeding on his return-to-season trip to Greenham more than seven shoes in Newbury two weeks ago.
Christophe Soumillon maintains a partnership with Ardad’s son, who won four of his six outings as a juvenile, including Group One strikes at Prix Morny at Deauville and Middle Park Staking at Newmarket.
Coach Richard Fahey feels he has bowed to his season and stepped up on the trip in his stride, though not quite as fit.
Fahey said: “I didn’t let him get completely injured (in Greenham) and I think we’ll learn a little bit about him.
“The last thing I want is for him to get a full warm-up because if it looks like we’re not going to the Guineas we’re going to have a two-month dry spell before he runs again.
“I used it as a preparation, I thought he looked a bit chubby and chubby around the parade ring but in my mind I left some improvement in him.
“He needed to run and he took a big hit afterwards but there was no hiding place in the race, it put him in position and I haven’t had much to do with him since.
“It’s a relief, but it’s not that you worry about the horse’s abilities, it’s just that when you have such a good two-year-old you always ask ‘is he trained?’ That’s relief. .
“This horse has a lot of natural speed, I could run it in the Commonwealth Cup if I wanted to, I’ve put it in St James’s Palace and the Commonwealth Cup – how many horses can you do that?
“I always thought it was good to get a win at Newmarket, when downhill we’ve seen a lot of good horses that can’t cope with it. That can only be a big plus.”
Galileo Gold renewed in 2016 for Hugo Palmer and he runs Dubawi Legend, another company that resurfaced. He follows the Native Trail in Dewhurst two blocks and is first teamed up by Tom Marquand.
The legendary Dubawi (14) was last seen placing 10th/13th at the Modern Games during the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Del Mar in November.
“We don’t regret going to the Breeders’ Cup,” Palmer said. “We’ve had a bad start to the year for him and he needs to be more mature and I very much feel that going out there will be. like giving him three more races.
“It was a complete disaster, but it taught him and he seems to have matured.
“I’m pretty sure I’m right when I say that no Juvenile Breeders’ Cup winner has come back and won the European Classic, but there are over a dozen beaten horses from the Breeders’ Cup already.
“I just feel that there’s less chance of error if we don’t run the test. If we do, we’ll have to take on Perfect Power and whether we beat him or not, we do. there’s going to be a very tough two-week race for the Guineas, that’s what scares me.
“I think our horse will win Galileo Gold’s Guineas. If they’re in the same year, I feel Galileo Gold will come in second behind him, but that’s another year and a different time.”
He added: “He finished second in last year’s Dewhurst, Dewhurst is often Europe’s top two-year-old race and the winner is usually the two-year-old champion and favorite for the Guineas year of the year. Then, exactly the winner of this race is Native Trail.
“We’re only two miles behind him so we have two long to find. He’s grown, he’s filled out the information, he’s doing a great job.
“I think I’ve trained everything from mares, all won and this is the best of them all. We haven’t proven he’s going to stay a mile, but I trust him very much. he would, his sister stayed a mile and three quarters.
“We are very excited about Saturday.”
In addition to Native Trail and Luxembourg, there are two other teams with an unbeaten record in the race.
William Knight coaches Checkandchallenge, who has been successful twice, with success debuting on seven feathers at Wolverhampton in November and more than a mile on his three-year-old bow in a Newcastle-listed race early this month.
“He’s been in very high form. He’s a big underdog, but at the same time he deserves to be in the squad and I think he can run a big race,” Knight said.
“I don’t know with him, I don’t know, I really don’t know how good he is.”
The one remaining who has yet to see his color cast down is Light Infantry, who is making a seasonal comeback having taken over Horris Hill at Newbury on day two of last season’s two starters.
Of Jamie Spencer’s mount, coach David Simcock said: “I’m really pleased with him. It will be exciting to see him on the fast ground and we’re really looking forward to running him. .
“He did nothing wrong and I think he will run well. How should I say? I think there will be more behind him than up front.”
Eydon took the Feilden Stakes at Newmarket on his seasonal bow on nine furs, so David Egan’s mount is one without a doubt about stamina.
Coach Roger Varian said: “We were very impressed with him at Feilden and he came out of the race very well.
“It will be a completely different test on Saturday, but we couldn’t be more pleased with his condition and hope he runs well.”