Persian King is one of a top class and highly international entry of 75 colts, including 20 from Ireland and one from Dubai (the Meydan Classic runner-up, Golden Jaguar), for the QIPCO 2,000 Guineas, which takes place at Newmarket’s Rowley Mile Racecourse on Saturday 4th May 2019.

This £500,000 event  heralds the start of the 2019 QIPCO British Champions Series.

A son of Kingman, himself a QIPCO 2,000 Guineas runner-up and British Champions Series veteran, Persian King won three times in a four-race juvenile campaign which culminated in victory in the Group 3 Masar Godolphin Autumn Stakes over the full QIPCO 2,000 Guineas course and distance on 13th October.

His trainer, Andre Fabre –  the legendary 29-time French Champion Trainer – has won the first British Classic twice before, with Zafonic in 1993 and Pennekamp two years later, and has gone close to a third success twice in the last four years, with Al Wukair (second in 2017) and Territories (third in 2015). He also struck on behalf of Persian King’s part-owners, Ballymore Thoroughbred Ltd, in the QIPCO 1,000 Guineas with Miss France in 2014.

All the top two-year-old colts of 2018 are among the entry including the outstanding unbeaten Champion Two-Year-Old, Too Darn Hot, brilliant winner of another Rowley Mile October 13th contest, the Group 1 Darley Dewhurst Stakes, and his John Gosden-trained stablemate, Calyx, not seen since running away with the Group 2 Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot last June.

Other leading British-trained entries are, from the Charlie Appleby yard, both the Group 1 National Stakes hero, Quorto, and the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf scorer, Line Of Duty, plus Martyn Meade’s Group 1 Phoenix Stakes winner and Darley Dewhurst runner-up, Advertise.

Irish training maestro Aidan O’Brien has already landed this showpiece event on a record nine occasions and he has numerous strong contenders among his 16 representatives, headed by Ten Sovereigns, successful in the Group 1 Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes on the Rowley Mile last autumn, and Magna Grecia, who chased home Persian King in the Masar Godolphin Autumn Stakes before landing the Group 1 Futurity Trophy at Doncaster.

Two other interesting contenders are the Hamdan Al Maktoum-owned pair, Jash and Madhmoon. Trained by Simon Crisford, Jash excelled himself on just his third career start to finish only half a length adrift of Ten Sovereigns in the Juddmonte Middle Park while Madhmoon, from Kevin Prendergast’s Irish yard, is unbeaten in two lifetime outings including the Group 2 Champions Juvenile Stakes at Leopardstown.

Andre Fabre, trainer of Persian King, said: “Persian King has done well and has had a quiet winter. He had his first canter on the grass this morning and there is no rush with him.”

“I am a great fan of Newmarket Racecourse and it helps that Persian King got some experience of the Rowley Mile when he won the Autumn Stakes there. It was a strong piece of form and he won despite still being green.”

“But getting practice for the QIPCO 2,000 Guineas was not the sole purpose for running him in the Autumn Stakes – it was a good race for him on nice ground – and there is still a chance we could decide to run him in the Poule d’Essai des Poulains [French Guineas] instead.”

“I would very much like for him to have a prep race before his Classic and that could be in the Prix Djebel (at Maisons-Laffitte on 10th April) but good ground is important for him so if we were to get heavy rain he may have to skip the trials. He won’t be coming to England for his prep race as the timing of the British trials is too close to the Classics.”

“He is a big strong horse with an easy character who is very laid back in the mornings but has a totally different attitude when the gates open.”

“Although he is from the family of mile and a quarter horses including the Prix Ganay winner, Planteur, the influence of his sire, Kingman, is very important and Persian King has shown me the ability to accelerate off a high cruising speed.”

“The QIPCO 2,000 Guineas is a race that makes stallions, you need to be good to win it, and it seems that there was a strong generation of two-year-olds last season.”

WARD CONSIDERING TRANSATLANTIC QIPCO 1,000 GUINEAS RAID FOR THE MACKEM BULLET

The global appeal of the QIPCO 1,000 Guineas has been underlined by the inclusion of the Japanese-owned and American-trained filly, The Mackem Bullet, among the 58 entries for the 206th running of this historic event at Newmarket’s Rowley Mile Racecourse on Sunday 5th May.

Run over a straight mile, this £500,000 Classic is the second leg of the 2019 QIPCO British Champions Series.

The Mackem Bullet has already shown outstanding form on the Rowley Mile when beaten by a neck into second place by another QIPCO 1000 Guineas entry, Fairyland, in the six furlong Group 1 Juddmonte Cheveley Park Stakes on 29th September.

She then travelled to America to finish sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf before leaving the stable of Yorkshire trainer, Brian Ellison, and joining the barn of the renowned transatlantic traveller, Wesley Ward, best known in Britain for his ten Royal Ascot successes.

She has had two starts for Ward, both at Turfway Park, winning the first by over ten lengths before finishing fourth in the John Battaglia Memorial Stakes on 15th February.

Irish trainers have plundered this prize three times in the last four years and look to have an exceptionally strong hand with no fewer than 20 entries. They include the Joseph O’Brien-trained Group 1 bet365 Fillies’ Mile winner, Iridessa, and the Moyglare Stud Stakes heroine, Skitter Scatter, who has recently joined the yard of John Oxx following the retirement of her former handler, Patrick Prendergast.

Aidan O’Brien, Joseph’s father, has 14 entries including Fairyland and the Group 2 Shadwell Rockfel Stakes scorer, Just Wonderful.

The British contingent is led by Kevin Ryan’s Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf runner-up, East, and Michael Bell’s Pretty Pollyanna, winner of the Group 1 Darley Prix Morny, while the pick of two French entries is Andre Fabre’s Suphala, twice a winner at Chantilly last season.

Wesley Ward, trainer of The Mackem Bullet, said: “Bringing over a horse for the Guineas is something that I have always wanted to do and in The Mackem Bullet I think I might have found the right filly. It really helps that she already has plenty of European experience – it would be much more difficult with one who had raced exclusively in America.”

“The plan is for The Mackem Bullet to run in the Appalachian Stakes [a Grade 2 fillies race over Keeneland’s turf mile on 7th April] and after that I will have to consult with her owner, Mr Yoshida, and his American agent, John McCormack, before we decide if we should take a big chance and send her over or keep her here in America.”

“She ran a really good race on her debut for me on New Year’s Eve, when she dominated in a small race at Turfway Park on the polytrack.”

“I then ran her against the colts in the John Battaglia, again on the polytrack, and although she ran a decent race to be fourth behind a very smart winner, that was not nearly as good as I know she is – I have always been convinced that she is better on turf than on an artificial surface.”

“When I first got her I talked to Brian [Ellison, her previous trainer] and came to the conclusion that she might be the type of filly who would do best staying in the colder climate in Kentucky and racing on throughout the winter and that seems to have worked out well.”

“She is very, very happy at the moment, she has no issues and seems to be over any of her previous nervous antics. She is a big filly with a nice mind who is eating the bottom out of her feed tub.”

Andre Fabre, trainer of Suphala, said: “Suphala is a nice Frankel filly who deserves to be entered but she is just a prospect at the moment. She will have a prep race in France, possibly in the Prix Imprudence (at Maisons-Laffiitte on 10th April), and we will see how she gets on there.”

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