O’Brien bidding for more Classic success this weekend

Aidan O'Brien and Ryan Moore

Orderofthegarter would appear to be Aidan O'Brien’s leading contender for Sunday’s Poule d'Essai des Poulains, with 17 colts remaining in the French equivalent of the 2000 Guineas at Deauville on Sunday.

The master of Ballydoyle landed both the 2000 Guineas with Churchill and the 1000 Guineas with Winter at Newmarket last weekend and looks set to send a formidable team to France in a bid to add to his Classic tally.

Also among O’Brien’s possible team is Caravaggio, who won each of his four starts as a juvenile, including impressive displays in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot and the National Stakes at the Curragh.

However, the speedy son of Scat Daddy is expected to skip the Poulains in favour of a comeback in the Lacken Stakes at Naas in a few weeks’ time.

O'Brien's other contenders after the first forfeit stage are Taj Mahal, Whitecliffsofdover and Peace Envoy.

Saeed bin Suroor's Leshlaa and the Charlie Appleby-trained Salsabeel could both travel from Britain to represent Godolphin.

The other potential challengers from England are Richard Hannon's The Grape Escape, South Seas from Andrew Balding's stable and the William Haggas-trained Rivet, who was runner-up to Eminent on his Craven Stakes reappearance.

The home team includes Criquette Head-Maarek's National Defense, who was a Group One winner as a juvenile and was runner-up to 2000 Guineas third Al Wukair in the Prix Djebel at Maisons-Laffitte, while Brametot was an impressive winner of the Prix de Fontainebleau last time out.

The field for Saturday’s fillies’ Classic – the Poule d'Essai des Pouliches – was reduced to 20 following the second forfeit stage on Tuesday.

The four horses removed were O'Brien's Asking, Hannon's Promising, Lady Frankel and Sri Prada.

Pascal Bary’s Prix de la Grotte winner Senga and John Gosden’s Dabyah are likely to vie for favouritism.

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