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Punchestown News

Punchestown News: Air Force Blue ready for assault on Qipco 2,000 Guineas

Posted: 21st Mar 2016

Air Force Blue (Joseph O'Brien) winning the Keeneland

Air Force Blue was among a host of O'Brien horses to work at the Curragh

  PICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)  

Air Force Blue ready for assault on 2,000 Guineas

AIR FORCE BLUE, favourite for the Qipco 2,000 Guineas following a Group 1 juvenile hat-trick, was among 50 Ballydoyle horses who exercised after racing at the Curragh on Sunday as Aidan O'Brien followed the pattern of recent years by bringing a team of three-year-olds and older horses to go through their paces after the first meeting of the Irish Flat season.

The horses were split into five groups of ten and after Air Force Blue, ridden by Seamus Heffernan, had come through from behind to run fifth in a workout over seven furlongs, O'Brien said: "Seamie was very happy with the way Air Force Blue cruised through at the end.

"It's six weeks to the Guineas and he'll be going straight to Newmarket. He's done well over the winter and we're very happy with where we are with him at this stage."

France for Hit It A Bomb

Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf winner Hit It A Bomb, ridden by Donnacha O'Brien, went in the same group as Air Force Blue and, according to his trainer, could go for the Poule d'Essai des Poulains.

O'Brien said: "Hit It A Bomb is carrying plenty of condition. He's built like a tank and I'd imagine he might go for one of the trials in France before the Poulains."

Minding straight to Newmarket too

Qipco 1,000 Guineas and Oaks favourite Minding, winner of the Moyglare Stud Stakes and Fillies' Mile, came up behind in a separate group.

O'Brien said: "Seamie was happy with her and she'll probably go straight to Newmarket, although she wouldn't want the ground too fast."

Coolmore was asked to do a bit more than most of the workers and came home well to finish in front in Minding's group.

"She'll probably start off in a Guineas trial, while Alice Springs will probably go for the 1,000 Guineas Trial at Leopardstown," said O'Brien.

He added: "Ballydoyle, who won the Prix Marcel Boussac, might go back to Longchamp for the Pouliches. We're happy with what she did today."

Tattersalls Gold Cup for Found

The older horses on view included Found, the Breeders' Cup Turf winner, of whom O'Brien said: "The Tattersalls Gold Cup will be her first main target but she could start off in the Mooresbridge Stakes here on May 2."

The trainer added: "While the ground was testing it was not as bad as it has been many times on the first day of the season, so the horses did a bit more than in previous years."

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