The Aidan O’Brien-trained Air Force Blue has shortened into 4/6 favourite for this weekend’s 2000 Guineas at Newmarket as 17 horses remain at the five-day declaration stage.

The three-year old son of War Front has won four of his five career starts and enters the 2016 flat season as the most exciting colt in training. His victory in last year’s Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes cemented his position atop of the two-year old rankings following three consecutive victories at the highest level during a glittering season.

Labelled as possibly the best horse Aidan O’Brien has ever trained by connections, Air Force Blue heads to flat racing’s headquarters this Saturday with plenty of expectation. On form, he is the rightful favourite and has reportedly enjoyed a faultless preparation for the campaign’s first classic.

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Among the remaining 16 declarations include second-favourite Stormy Antarctic for trainer Ed Dunlop following his success in the Craven Stakes recently.

Godolphin have three still in the line-up including the only horse to have beaten favourite Air Force Blue in Buratino. Mark Johnston’s three-year old got the best of the Ballydoyle star at Royal Ascot last year to win the Group 2 Coventry Stakes.

Racing Post Trophy victory Marcel is also set to make the trip to Newmarket this weekend following a strong finish to his two-year old campaign. Trainer Peter Chapple-Hyam won the 2000 Guineas in 1992 and believes he has the right colt in Marcel to double his tally in the contest.

Betting (William Hill): Air Force Blue 4/6, Stormy Antarctic 6/1, Massaat 10/1, Buratino 12/1, Marcel 14/1, Blue De Vega 16/1, Galileo Gold & Herald The Dawn 25/1, 33/1 bar.