Leading 2000 Guineas contender Thunder Moon for Joseph O'Brien is said to have wintered well and is now ready for a big run in the first Classic of the season at Newmarket, with his handler hoping for quick ground.
The son of Zoffany extended his unbeaten run to two races when landing the Goffs Vincent O'Brien National Stakes at The Curragh and before that won over the same course and distance in a maiden.
The juvenile took a huge step forward to land the black type event that was once won by Pinatubo and from there the three year old went to Newmarket for the Group One Dewhurst Stakes.
Going off as the 11/4 favourite, many could not see past him after his win at The Curragh, but he had to settle for second behind the Aidan O'Brien duo of St Mark's Basilica and Wembley.
O'Brien said on Nick Luck’s Daily Podcast: “He’s wintered very well. Obviously we put him away after the Dewhurst, but I was very pleased with that run. The ground went a bit slow on us and we probably weren’t drawn in the perfect position, but it was a very good run.
“The plan all winter has been to go straight to the Guineas and not have a prep. He’s in good shape.
“His National Stakes win was a very good performance. It was a very messy race, but he got himself out of trouble and showed a fantastic turn of foot.
“Turn of foot and speed are probably his two attributes, he’d love a bit of firm ground as he’s a strong traveller with a turn of foot, which he showed a couple of times last season. It would be pretty important to us that the ground is good or better.”
Currently the fourth favourite for the 2000 Guineas at the start of May, and O'Brien believes he can overturn form of his dads horses.
“I don’t know if he’s classier (than the two who beat him in the Dewhurst), but I probably feel that we are the quickest horse,” said O’Brien.
“We travelled very well through the Dewhurst and looked the winner, but on the day there was a severe bias to the rail, we were drawn on the other side and also the ground was on the slow side so I thought it was a fantastic run.
“When we broke down the race afterwards we were very proud of his run, we’re looking forward to taking them on again on what we hope will be quicker going.
“His pedigree suggests he’ll stay further, I’m quite confident about the mile but after that I’m not sure how much further he’d go as he’s quite a pacey horse.
“I’d say Declan McDonagh is most likely to ride at Newmarket and we’ll go from there, but it hasn’t really been discussed yet. I’d imagine it will be Declan as he has a good relationship with him.”