There are only a few days to go until Royal Ascot gets under way, but before the jewel in the Flat racing calendar kicks off next week, there’s some good action to look forward to over the weekend.

There’s Listed action from both Newbury and Sandown, while the first Classics of the Irish season take place at the Curragh.

Favourite to upstage Ballydoyle battalion

Trainer Aidan O’Brien has won Friday’s Irish 2000 Guineas (6:40pm) an astonishing 11 times and he looks set to saddle over half of the 11 runners for the 2020 renewal. Considering four of his six runners are in the top five in the betting, he’ll be confident of winning the race again.

Of his contenders, Armory looks the strongest at 4/1. The son of Galileo hasn’t finished out of the first three in all seven career starts and has already won a Group 3 by five lengths and a Group 2. He looks the type to improve from two to three and he ran very well when upped to a mile at the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere at the back end of last season.

He heads a host of dangers from the O’Brien yard and given the Ballydoyle handler’s start to the season, all of his contenders have to be respected. However, they might just have their work cut out against Ger Lyons’ unbeaten colt SISKIN, who is available at 5/2.

The beautifully bred son of First Defence has been very impressive on his four starts so far and although he’s been stepped up in Grade each time, he’s seemed to flourish as the opposition has got better. Having won Listed and Group 2 races at the Curragh, he was stepped up to Grade 1 company for the Phoenix Stakes, and again he put the race to bed in striking fashion.

He’s never run off this mile trip before, but his breeding suggests it should be well within his capabilities and he should go very well again as he bids to remain unbeaten.

Peaceful can give O’Brien another 1000 Guineas crown 

Although O’Brien might come up short in the Irish 2000 Guineas, he could be celebrating an English-Irish 1000 Guineas double as his PEACEFUL must go well at the Curragh on Saturday (7:15pm).

The three-year-old, who is 10/3 for victory, is very lightly-raced and this will be just her fourth career start, but everything she’s shown so far suggests she’ll be a serious filly this year.

She bolted up by seven lengths on her penultimate start of her two-year-old campaign and was only just touched off in Listed company at Newmarket next time. She didn’t really get the run of the race that day and was gaining on the winner as they crossed the line.

She’ll surely appreciate the better ground, and the form of her Newmarket second got a significant boost when the third, Run Wild, was a commanding victor at Newmarket over the weekend.

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