O'Brien hoping for boost from Kew Gardens after Classic setbacks

Nature this year is pointing appropriately to the three-day Craven meeting heralding the start of the summer season, with temperatures forecast to rise into the 20Cs this week.

The rain and mud of Cheltenham and Aintree will be a distant memory as the Flat battalions from Ballydoyle, Newmarket, Middleham, Manton and Lambourn manoeuvre for early honours with just 19 days to the Qipco Guineas meeting back on the Rowley Mile.

The Craven meeting has traditionally started the Classic trail that swiftly moves on to Newbury at the weekend, before skirmishes at Sandown, Epsom, Chester, Lingfield and York ahead of the Investec Derby.

Tuesday's Listed bet365 Feilden Stakes, over 1m1f for three-year-olds, had not stood out as a Classic trial until three years ago, when John Gosden unleashed subsequent Derby and Arc winner Golden Horn.

For good measure he followed up with Khalidi last year, and the Newmarket trainer runs Nottingham maiden winner Msayyan this year, while Aidan O'Brien sends Kew Gardens back to Newmarket, where the son of Galileo won the Zetland Stakes last autumn.

Mark Johnston runs Royal Lodge third Mildenberger while Kentucky Derby-bound Gronkowski's form will be tested via Dark Acclaim and Fortune's Pearl, who were behind him in the Listed Burradon Stakes at Newcastle on Good Friday.

It was an up and down weekend for Aidan O'Brien and he will be hoping Kew Gardens can help make up for a couple of hiccups.

While Classic contenders Clemmie and Amadeo Modigliani have met with setbacks, O'Brien could smile after Gustav Klimt and Nelson put their Group 1 cases with Leopardstown successes on Saturday.

O'Brien said of Kew Gardens: "He won the Zetland Stakes at Newmarket on his final start last year, so middle distances are going to suit him well. We're very happy with him and he's ready to run. He's doing everything right." 

Mark Johnston is the most successful trainer in the race with four previous winners from Gold History (2004) through Atlantic Waves and Campanologist to Dordogne in 2011.

Mildenberger has plenty in common with one of his stable's stars of last season in Permian. Not only will he race in the same early-season colours but he is also a son of Teofilo and bred by the Darley/Godolphin operation.

Permian went from a Bath handicap win in April to landing the Newmarket Stakes at the Guineas meeting before Dante and King Edward VII Stakes successes and a short-head defeat in the French Derby. He later unfortunately suffered a fatal injury in the Secretariat Stakes.  

Charlie Johnston said of Mildenberger: "He had a very successful year as a two-year-old but on his pedigree and physically he was going to be a better horse this year.

"This is a nice starting point but an extra furlong or more will suit and we're looking forward to this year with him."

What they say

Charlie Appleby, trainer of Stage Magic
He disappointed on his last run at the end of the season in very soft ground but has done well over the winter and had a progressive profile before his last run. If he brings his Group-race form to the table even with his penalty he would be a player.

Hugo Palmer, trainer of Arbalet
He’s done exceptionally well and was always the sort of horse who was likely to be better at three. I know he’s by Dark Angel but he’s very big and rangy, and looks like a middle-distance horse. He'll get a bit of cut in the ground, which he definitely needs. 

Marco Botti, trainer of Dark Acclaim
It was quite a pleasing performance at Newcastle as we always thought he was going to be a mile-and-a-quarter horse but he got away with a stiff mile at Newcastle. The extra furlong will suit and he doesn't mind ground on the soft side and has the advantage of being race-fit with a run under his belt. He deserves his chance but it's very competitive. 

Andrew Balding, trainer of Fortune's Pearl
He disappointed behind Gronkowski at Newcastle, given he wasn't beaten that far by him at Kempton the time before. I think he'll come on but it was far below his best. I still have a lot of time for him.

John Gosden, trainer of Msayyan
It’s a tough renewal with Kew Gardens in there but he’s been pleasing at home and this looks a nice starting point.

Adam Ryan, assistant to Kevin Ryan, trainer of New Show
He's always shown plenty and we've always liked him. He's bigger and stronger and we couldn't be happier with him. The trip should suit but he has to step up on his bare form.