‘Monster’ Air Force Blue thriving ahead of 2000 Guineas

Air Force Blue is reported to have thrived over the winter as his date with the Qipco 2000 Guineas edges closer.

The Aidan O’Brien-trained colt met with defeat just once last season, when second in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot, and finished his campaign with three straight Group One successes, the last of which came in the Dewhurst at Newmarket.

He is set to head straight to the Rowley Mile on April 30, and O’Brien’s son and assistant Joseph said: “Air Force Blue is very exciting and was an exceptional two-year-old.

“He’s done very well over the winter and size-wise he’s a 16.2 monster.”

Asked about the two-year-olds at Ballydoyle, he added: “The horse that won at Dundalk on Friday night (Peace Envoy) was a bit green but he’s very quick.

“We also have a two-year-old by Scat Daddy whose nice and will be coming out soon.”

Meanwhile Andrew Balding may start Group One winner Elm Park off in the bet365 Mile at Sandown later this month.

The Kingsclere handler has identified the Group Two prize at Sandown on April 22 as a possible starting point for the four-year-old ahead of a potential tilt at next month’s Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes at Newbury.

Having secured four wins from five starts as a two-year-old, culminating with victory in the Racing Post Trophy, the son of Phoenix Reach failed to hit the same heights last season, with his sole success in a mile Listed contest at Sandown last September.

Balding said: “He is going very well at home and he looks great.

“He has definitely grown and developed physically.

“We might go to Sandown for the Group Two race there at the end of the month.

“He’s in the Lockinge and we will see about that as I am still not sure what his best trip is.

“We will start him off over a mile and then look to go further mid-summer, I’d imagine.”

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