Charlie Appleby is considering bypassing the Qipco 2000 Guineas with Line Of Duty in favour of an outing in the Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Dante Stakes at York.
The Newmarket handler is leaning towards testing the son of Galileo, who spent the winter out in Dubai, over an extended mile and a quarter for the first time in the Group Three contest on May 16.
After winning his final two starts in Britain last season, Line Of Duty completed a hat-trick on his final outing of the year with victory in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Churchill Downs in November.
Appleby said: “The Guineas is shaping up to be quite open, but we are going to do what we feel is right in respect towards the Derby as we always said he was going to be our Derby horse.
“It is often said the Guineas is the best Derby trial, but this is a horse we saw has his best results on a turning track, so we might we just take the Dante route as he wants to go up in trip.
“We still have a few calls to make, but at the moment I’m looking more at the Dante route than the Guineas.”
Prospects of Zakouski lining up in the 2000 Guineas appear to be slim with Appleby looking at dropping him back in trip following his defeat in last week’s Craven.
Appleby added: “I’d say that Zakouski is unlikely to run in the Guineas. We will probably drop him back to seven furlongs for the King Charles II Stakes.
“You could put a bit of a line through his last run as he did get wound up at the start and I don’t think that was his true running.
“He is from an Australian sprinting family, so I think he will be better dropping back in trip.”
Jalmoud looks set to contest a Derby trial on his next start after making a winning return at Newmarket last week – a route which stablemate Al Hilalee, who was last sighted winning a Listed race in France, is also likely to take.
Appleby added: “Jalmoud could go back for the Newmarket Stakes or the Lingfield Derby Trial. He has come out of his last race well.
“Al Hilalee could go to the Newmarket Stakes while he also has a Dante entry as well. He is doing well and will fly back from Dubai this week. We will get him back and then take stock.”