AIDAN O’Brien reckons Arizona is sizzling ahead of next weekend’s QIPCO 2000 Guineas.
The record-breaking trainer is set to send across a five-strong team to take on Pinatubo in the first Classic of the season at Newmarket.
Arizona is his leading candidate, and he wasn’t far behind the unbeaten favourite when second in the Dewhurst in October.
And if he can pull off an upset, it will prove both a training and logistical masterstroke for the team at Ballydoyle.
O’Brien explained: “I won’t be coming over as you have to quarantine for two weeks when you arrive back in Ireland. It is the same for our staff, obviously.
“So we are in the process of leasing a house in Newmarket. Some of the grooms will go over and stay, probably through Royal Ascot.
“Some of our team will fly over with the horses on the plane, then the lads in Newmarket will pick them up from the airport, look after them at the races and then bring them back to the plane afterwards.
“They usually fly over and back in one day, so while it will be a new experience hopefully everything will run smoothly.”
As for Arizona, O’Brien is convinced he will be a better horse this season.
He continued: “He is in good form, his preparation has gone very well so far.
“We were obviously getting him tuned up for the first weekend in May but we just had to ease back a little bit and get him going again with the race pushed back a month.
“He is a big rangy horse and we always thought that he would improve from two to three, so in hindsight he did well to win the Coventry at Ascot last year.
“We always thought a mile would be within his grasp, he travels well and comes home well in his races.
“He caught the eye running on the Breeders’ Cup from a bad draw, so the trip should be fine. He is well travelled and has plenty of experience.
“He is the horse that has been on everyone’s mind all along for this race.”
He will be joined in the race by stablemates Wichita, who was third in the Dewhurst, as well as Royal Dornoch, Royal Lytham and New World Tapestry.
Meanwhile, Love and Peaceful will head up his team for the 1000 Guineas on 7 June, and Derby hero Anthony Van Dyck is also booked on next week’s flight.
O’Brien said: “We have always liked Love, she is a very straightforward filly and we have always thought she would stay further than a mile.
“She ran at Newmarket when third in the Fillies’ Mile with the view that she would come back this year for the 1000 Guineas. Peaceful and So Wonderful are possibles. If we are looking for a Coronation Stakes filly, they are going to have to run.
“It’s not set in stone yet but we could run our Oaks fillies in the Irish 1000 Guineas as a trial for Epsom, but things can change.
“Soft ground at Ascot in the King George wasn’t the right thing to do with Anthony Van Dyck and he paid for it. The plan would be to keep him on good ground and he’s doing everything right at the moment.
“Him, Broome and Sir Dragonet are the three we are thinking of entering in the Coronation Cup.”