A TOTAL of 15 colts have been declared for Saturday's 2000 Guineas at Newmarket and Aidan O’Brien’s trio of Battleground, Van Gogh and Wembley are among six Irish-trained horses in the field.
The Ballydoyle handler has saddled a record 10 winners of the classic.
Wembley (Ryan Moore) is officially the highest-rated of his three runners on what will be his first appearance since being touched off by stable companion St Mark’s Basilica in the Dewhurst at Newmarket in October.
Battleground (Frankie Dettori) was last seen filling the runner-up spot at the Breeders’ Cup, while Van Gogh (Seamie Heffernan) has been off the track since landing Group 1 honours in the Criterium International at Saint-Cloud.
Joseph O’Brien, Aidan’s son, has a leading contender in Thunder Moon. The son of Zoffany beat Wembley when winning last season’s National Stakes at the Curragh, but was behind the same rival when third in the Dewhurst.
Jessica Harrington’s Lucky Vega and Poetic Flare, from Jim Bolger’s yard, complete the Irish contingent.
The home team includes three Charlie Appleby-trained hopefuls in One Ruler, Master Of The Seas and Naval Crown.
Naval Crown inflicted a shock defeat on Master Of The Seas in Dubai earlier in the year, but the latter bounced back to winning ways in the Craven Stakes over the Guineas course and distance a couple of weeks ago.
With William Buick deciding to stick with Master Of The Seas this weekend, James Doyle partners One Ruler, who rounded off his two-year-old campaign by finishing second in the Vertem Futurity Trophy at Doncaster.
The Charlie Hills-trained Mutasaabeq was mightily impressive when winning a conditions race at the Craven meeting, which ultimately led to connections supplementing for the Guineas earlier this week.
Richard Hannon’s Greenham Stakes winner Chindit, Ralph Beckett’s Devilwala, the Roger Varian-trained Legion Of Honour, Mystery Smiles from Andrew Balding’s yard and Jane Chapple-Hyam’s rank outsider Albadri are the other hopefuls.
GET THE GUINEAS VERDICT FROM DONN McCLEAN & RORY DELARGY IN THE IRISH FIELD THIS WEEKEND