The first Classic of the British Flat season takes place at Newmarket on Saturday afternoon as a field of 14 bid for glory in the Qipco 2000 Guineas.
They are headed by would-be superstar Auguste Rodin for and Ryan Moore, while leading UK-based contenders include Chaldean for Andrew Balding and Sakheer for Roger Varian.
The 2000 Guineas, along with every race from Britain and Ireland over the busy Bank Holiday weekend, can be viewed on the bet365 live Sports Streaming Service, and here's our look ahead to the Rowley Mile Classic.
|What||Qipco 2000 Guineas|
|When||4.40, Saturday 6th May, 2023|
|How to watch||bet365 live Sports Streaming, ITV & Racing TV|
|Odds||Auguste Rodin 13/8, Little Big Bear 5/1, Chaldean 11/2, Royal Scotsman 8/1, Sakheer 8/1, Silver Knott 12/1, Noble Style|
Auguste Rodin @ 13/8
Trainer: Aidan O'Brien / Jockey: Ryan Moore
Deep Impact colt won 3-4 starts last season after being denied on debut, including a Group 2 on Irish Champions Weekend at Leopardstown and the Group 1 Futurity Stakes at Doncaster on final start.
Powered clear in the style of top-class performer on Town Moor that afternoon and his decorated trainer has suggested if there is a Triple Crown contender lurking this season 'he is the one'.
Little Big Bear @ 5/1
Trainer: Aidan O'Brien / Jockey: Wayne Lordan
Just two O'Brien-trained contenders this time and they are the front pair in the betting.
This son of No Nay Never was beaten on debut at the Curragh last year (short-head) before winning all four starts thereafter.
The 5f Windsor Castle at Royal Ascot and 6f Group 1 Keeneland Phoenix Stakes were amongst his wins, latterly by a whopping seven-lengths from Persian Force.
Stamina to be tested now.
Chaldean @ 11/2
Trainer: Andrew Balding / Jockey: Frankie Dettori
The champion juvenile last season courtesy of his win here in the Dewhurst Stakes in October.
He clung on narrowly from Royal Scotsman that day and, like the Ballydoyle duo, it meant he signed off an impressive debut season with a streak of wins (four) after being second on his debut.
Comeback in Newbury's Greenham a fortnight ago saw him jink and unseat Frankie Dettori at the start, but he galloped out the 7f and that won't have hurt him.
He remains a key player in what will be the final 2000 Guineas for his illustrious rider.
Royal Scotsman @ 8/1
Trainer: Paul & Oliver Cole / Jockey: Jim Crowley
Gleneagles colt gained plenty experience last season with both wins coming at Goodwood, including the Group 2 Richmond Stakes in July.
He'd also run third in the Coventry at Royal Ascot over that 6f trip and while disappointing in York's Gimcrack (fifth) he signed off with a head second to Chaldean in the Dewhurst – very much shaping as though this mile trip is within his scope.
Sakheer @ 8/1
Trainer: Roger Varian / Jockey: David Egan
Touched off on debut at Windsor in August but bolted up next time in a Haydock novice (6f, good to firm) and then cemented the good impression he created an easy success in the Group 2 Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury in September.
Made quite the dent in just five weeks for those three runs and the Zoffany colt could have plenty more to come.
A field of 14 were declared on Thursday morning and, with the top five in the betting covered, that leaves nine more colts eyeing up some kind of an upset.
Newmarket trainer Charlie Appleby has two contenders left in the mix, Silver Knott (12/1) and Noble Style (14/1).
William Buick is jocked up on the former, with James Doyle on Kingman colt Noble Style.
He routed Royal Scotsman over 6f in the Gimcrack at York and while that run suggests he's got plenty speed, his 6f novice win on the July Course here previous to that saw him having to really dig in to get up.
He's a fascinating contender if stamina holds.
Silver Knott won 3-6 last season, twice finishing behind Chaldean, and has winning form over a mile at this track.
He ended the season with a short-head second in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf behind the O'Brien-trained Victoria Road.
Indestructible (20/1) twice finished second to Chaldean last season and was an improver performer when taking the bet365 Craven Stakes here last month for Karl Burke, Kevin Stott and the absolutely flying Amo Racing Team.
They'll be hoping there's more to come, while supporters of Chaldean will take confidence from that too.
Burke's second runner (of three) is Holloway Boy (25/1), winner of the Chesham Stakes at Ascot on debut last summer – a rare feat – but 0-4 thereafter.
He's the mount of Christophe Soumillon. Roger Varian's Charyn (50/1) was second-best in the Greenham last time and needs a leap forward, while the likes of Burke's Flight Plan (50/1) and Charlie Hills' Galeron (100/1) were second and third in the Listed Burradon Stakes at Newcastle over Easter but have big improvement to find now.
Completing the field are Dubai Mile (33/1) for Charlie Johnston – a heavy ground Group 1 winner in France over 1m2f in October when last spotted – and Kevin Ryan's Hi Royal (100/1), an impressive Ayr novice winner in September but with it all to prove on figures if he's to carry Oisin Murphy to glory on the Rowley Mile.