Cox keen on Guineas bid

Clive Cox believes Xtension will be suited by the course when he goes for Classic glory in the Abu Dhabi Irish 2000 Guineas at the Curragh on Saturday.

Clive Cox believes Xtension will be suited by the course when he goes for Classic glory in the Abu Dhabi Irish 2000 Guineas at the Curragh on Saturday.

The son of Xaar booked his place with a fine fourth in the Newmarket version and he is one of five possible British challengers after 20 horses stood their ground at the latest forfeit stage.

“I’m pleased we’ve not got the benefit of a run under our belts now,” said the Lambourn trainer.

“The ground in Ireland looks as if it’s going to be good at the moment with a warmer forecast as well, so we are looking forward to travelling over.

“We’ve been very happy with him all the way through. he had trained really well prior to the English Guineas.

“He’s come out of that race really well and we couldn’t be more pleased with his progress since that run.

“He’s a very nice horse to have anything to do with. He’s very straight forward, great temperament and he is progressing.

“He does appear to be progressing when stepping up in company as well. I’m hopeful of a big run.

“He proved at Newmarket that a mile is a pleasing distance for him and a stiff track like the Curragh should suit him well too.

“It’s going to be a very hot race as you’d expect for a Group One. We’ve got every race covered with him and our next step is the most important one at the moment and we’ll take it from there,” Cox told At The Races.

The Richard Hannon-trained Canford Cliffs, who finished ahead of Xtension in third place at Newmarket, is among the confirmations.

The rest of the British entry is completed by Ralph Beckett’s Oasis Dancer and the Peter Chapple-Hyam trained pair of Morana and Zaahy.

Aidan O’Brien has left in nine as he seeks a seventh success in the colts’ Classic. His team consists of Steinbeck, Jan Vermeer, Fencing Master, Air Chief Marshal, Dynasty, Encompassing, Fighting Brave, Purple Heart and Viscount Nelson.

Jim Bolger is triple-handed with Carraiglawn, Free Judgement and Sunday’s Navan winner Shintoh.

Tommy Stack’s promising colt Noll Wollop, John Oxx’s Keredari and the Frank Ennis-trained Sebastian Flyte complete the 20 acceptors.

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