By Jon Lees
GB: Godolphin will have a strong support act to hot favourite Pinatubo in the Qipco 2,000 Guineas with Saeed bin Suroor nominating unbeaten Military March for the colts’ Classic.
In an exceptionally strong hand this year Godolphin can boast three unbeaten Group 1-winning sons of Shamardal, in the Charlie Appleby-trained Pinatubo and the Andre Fabre-trained pair of Earthlight and Victor Ludorum.
Military March, a fourth Godolphin home-bred, has a perfect two-from-two record and his most recent appearance saw him land the Group 3 Dubai Autumn Stakes over the Qipco 2,000 Guineas course and distance in October.
Bin Suroor, who has won the race twice with Mark Of Esteem in 1996 and Island Sands in 1999, said: “Military March has been entered for the 2,000 Guineas and he is currently in full training in the UK where mentally and physically he has progressed from two to three.
“He has a big action and is a well-balanced horse, he’s currently galloping weekly and continues to thrive. His exercise regime will increase over the coming weeks and to this point he has not missed a days’ training this winter.
“With him having been such a big framed two-year-old it’s fantastic to see he’s grown into that and continues to have a good mindset. We feel the 2,000 Guineas would be a fantastic starting point, although this is probably going to be his minimum trip.
“However, being a course and distance winner as a two-year-old should stand him in good stead. Historically the 2,000 Guineas has been a good Derby trial for various contenders over the years, a discussion will be had with His Royal Highness Sheikh Mohammed over Military March’s participation in May. Were he to run and run well then the Classic route would be the next step.
“The Autumn Stakes has produced winners of the English 2,000 Guineas as recently as 2018 so it’s an important race to have won but we are under no illusion that the horse has to progress and improve as a three-year-old. From what we’ve seen in his work to date, he has done, and he continues to be an exciting prospect for the coming year.”
A total of 77 colts have been entered in the Qipco 2,000 Guineas while 62 fillies have been engaged in the Qipco 1,000 Guineas, run at Newmarket on May 2 and 3.
Other top class entries in the colt’s Classic include the Group 1 Vertem Futurity Trophy winner, Kameko; the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes scorer, Siskin; and, among an 18-strong contingent from the yard of Aidan O’Brien, Arizona, successful in the Group 2 Coventry Stakes prior to chasing home Pinatubo in the Darley Dewhurst Stakes.
The 62 entries for the Qipco 1,000 Guineas are led by Roger Charlton’s Quadrilateral, unbeaten winner of October’s Group 1 bet365 Fillies’ Mile.
Millisle and Albigna, Group 1 scorers in the Juddmonte Cheveley Park Stakes and the Prix Marcel Boussac respectively, are two of a quartet of fillies entered by Irish trainer Jessica Harrington.