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Gustav Klimt advances QIPCO 2000 Guineas claims

15 Apr 2018

Aidan O'Brien-trained colt produces late surge to make a winning return at Leopardstown.

Gustav Klimt and Moore, left, pounce late to win at Leopardstown. Picture: Racingfotos.

Gustav Klimt advanced his Classic claims by swooping late to win the Ballylinch Stud 2000 Guineas Trial Stakes at Leopardstown on Saturday.

The Aidan O’Brien

-trained colt had been off the track since winning the Superlative Stakes at Newmarket last July, but he was sent off the 6-4 favourite for the seven-furlong event.

He was held up last of the four runners by Ryan Moore but produced a powerful late surgeto beat race-fit Imaging by a length-and-three-quarters.

O’Brien confirmed he will now head for the QIPCO 2000 Guineas at Newmarket on May 5 – the first race in this year’s QIPCO British Champions Series. Several firms also clipped his odds for the Investec Derby at Epsom in June.

“We’re very happy. Obviously the ground was far from ideal, but it was nice to get a run into him as it’s a long time since he ran,” O’Brien said.

“Ryan said he was very impressed with the way he quickened in that ground. He’s a real good-ground horse. Newmarket is the plan if everything is well.”

Last year’s champion juvenile U S Navy Flag trailed home last of the four but O’Brien was not too downbeat. “We knew he’d hate the ground, but he needed to get out,” he said: “U S might go to the Guineas now and he’ll grow another leg between now and then.”

Gustav Klimt is now disputing 2000 Guineas favoritism with his stablemate, Saxon Warrior, who was unbeaten last year and signed off with victory in the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy. The pair are generally quoted at 5-1.

O’Brien indicated last month he would not give Saxon Warrior a prep run, and intends to stick to that plan. “He’s going straight to the Guineas at the moment, unless something changes,” he said.

The champion trainer also dominated the Group 3 P.W. McGrath Memorial Ballysax Stakes, with Nelson making all and winning at the main expense of stablemates Delano Roosevelt and The Pentagon.

Nelson and The Pentagon are trading at 14-1 for the Investec Derby with most firms.