The staff at the Racing Post look at the first Classics of the season

With Quorto, Too Darn Hot, Persian King, Calyx and Mohaather all ruled out of the QIPCO 2,000 Guineas, the first Classic of the season has a very open feel.

What is never in question is Aidan O’Brien's exceptional record at Newmarket and the trainer could end up saddling the first two in the betting in this year's race, last season’s Vertem Futurity Trophy winner Magna Grecia and the unbeaten juvenile Ten Sovereigns, who will be running over a mile for the first time.

Godolphin also look set to be double-handed, with Craven Stakes fourth Royal Marine and the lightly-raced and undefeated Al Hilalee, who was supplemented for £30,000.

The William Haggas-trained undefeated Skardu defeated Royal Marine in the Craven and brings untapped potential to the table after running out a ready scorer of that recognised trial.

Hamdam Al Maktoum may have lost the services of Mohaather but has quite the substitute at his disposal in the Kevin Prendergast-trained Madhmmon. The colt was undefeated in two starts as a juvenile and made a good re-appearance in the Listed 2,000 Guineas Trial Stakes at Leopardstown in April.

Group 1-winning two-year-old Advertise, who carries the hopes of the Phoenix Thoroughbred operation, and the promising Hugo Palmer-trained Set Piece, who ran an eyecatching trial in the Craven, are just two more names to throw into what is undoubtedly an interesting contest, despite the many and notable defections.

The QIPCO 1,000 Guineas market is one which had remained fairly stagnant until Qabala threw her hat into the ring in no uncertain terms, producing a powerful display in the Nell Gwyn Stakes to assume favouritism for the fillies’ Classic.

Winning trainer Roger Varian appears to hold the strongest hand of all after saddling the second Mot Juste to make an encouraging seasonal return behind her esteemed stablemate.

Skitter Scatter is another massive player and has already swept aside the best of the Irish in last season’s Moyglare Stud Stakes, form which has already been franked by the second Lady Kaya, who triumphed on her comeback in the Ballylinch Stud 1,000 Guineas Trial at Leopardstown.  

Aiden O'Brien always has a strong hand in this race and this year is no exception. Just Wonderful won the Group 2 Rockfel Stakes last season, and looks the likely spearhead of a team that could also include Hermosa, who should be suited by stepping up to a mile, and Cheveley Park winner Fairyland, who needs to prove her stamina but is abundantly talented.

Other names to note include Fred Darling heroine Dandhu, Fillies' Mile winner Iridessa and Radley Stakes winner Iconic Choice, all of whom have made pleasing seasonal reappearances.

by The Racing Post Staff at Rewards4Racing

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