Al Wukair. Source: Al Shaqab Racing via Twitter.
Churchill is the leading candidate to triumph at the 2000 Guineas to kick start an important run of races in the flat season. The Bay Colt has known nothing other than success in his career to date, winning five of his six meets to date along with a third-place finish on his debut.
Aidan O’Brien’s charge has been touted to make a run at all the major crowns this term, with Dante Stakes, Epsom Stakes and Royal Ascot all on the agenda in the near future.
He has not raced since October and that could allow the rest of the field a chance strike at the three-year-old in the race, catching him cold and out of rhythm.
Here are two of the potential candidates that could snatch the victory away from Churchill and O’Brien.
The Irish horse has been touted as one of the main challengers for Churchill in the race. He trains under the tutelage of Andre Fabre and reports from France suggest that he could be in line for a very successful season.
He has been limited in his action on the track with only two races to his name thus far. The three-year-old’s first meet came at the Isonomy Listed Stakes in Deauville.
Jockeyed by Gregory Benoist the Bay Colt secured a comfortable victory by one-and-a-half lengths, delivering on expectations having been named the favourite before the race.
After a six-month break, Al Wukair returned to the track at the Djebel Stakes in Maisons-Laffitte. Once he again the three-year-old was heavily backed, with Benoist and the Irish horse securing another victory.
With two wins under his belt, Al Wukair has a decent chance to beat out Churchill, being backed in the latest horse racing betting odds at 4/1 to triumph at Newmarket.
The Bay Colt will come into the major racing fold under the weight of expectations. Eminent is the son of the legendary horse Frankel, who was truly dominant in the flat between 2010 and 2012.
Success is in the three-year-old’s blood and trainer Martyn Meade will be determined to guide the horse to victory and continue his bright start to his career.
Eminent will be on familiar territory at Newmarket, where his two previous races to date have been situated.
He made his debut in September last year at the Stallions Maiden Stakes, and jockeyed by Jim Crowley, the Irish horse produce an excellent display to triumph by two-and-three-quarter lengths, finishing well ahead of favourite Taj Mahal.
The Bay Colt returned to action at the end of April after seven months off the track. However, he displayed no signs of rust at the Craven Stakes winning the race with a fine run down the stretch, once again finishing ahead of the touted favourite War Decree.
Eminent’s familiarity on Newmarket racecourse will stand him in good stead for the 2000 Guineas and he has already shown a propensity for causing an upset. Churchill will have to be well aware of the threat the Irish horse can pose down the final furlong in the meet.