John Gosden admits 2000 Guineas favourite Kingman will have to be at his best to win the Classic which is stacked with quality contenders.
Kingman assumed favouritism following his startling display in the Greenham Stakes at Newbury, the Khalid Abdullah-owned colt is aiming to give Gosden his first win in the race on Saturday.
However, the trainer is well aware of the task he faces as Aidan O’Brien has left no one in any doubt of the regard in which he holds Australia, who is a product of Galileo and Ouija Board.
Throw into the mix Richard Hannon’s unbeaten champion juvenile Toormore and Roger Varian’s Group One winner Kingston Hill, not to mention some fascinating overseas contenders, and Gosden has every right to be wary.
“I think it is a really good Guineas. Australia is being talked of as a horse who is head and shoulders above the rest at Ballydoyle,” Gosden said.
“I like the Craven winner (Toormore). I think he is one of those really tough horses; if you go by him you will know you have had a race.
“There’s a lot of depth – there’s Roger Varian’s Racing Post Trophy winner. It’s a proper Guineas.”
Gosden has repeatedly stated that because of an operation on an ankle last year he would be unwilling to risk Kingman on quick ground and the lack of recent rain has been a worry.
“We would have preferred the rain, but we haven’t had much rain (in Newmarket). You look at everywhere else and it’s soft or heavy. We are lucky we are racing on decent ground,” he said.
“As long as the ground is close to good, that’s fine. I just don’t want to run on firm.
“It doesn’t get heavy here as it’s the fastest draining course in Europe.”
The going is currently good to firm with rain forecast on Thursday.
Coral 2000 Guineas betting: Evens, Kingman, 3-1 Australia, 6-1 Toormore, 10-1 Kingston Hill, War Command, 16-1 Noozhoh Canarias, 20-1 Ertijaal, 25-1 upwards others.