05/02/2002 12:00AM

O'Brien quartet tops 2000 Guineas


Aidan O'Brien will send out four horses, led by the 3-2 favorite Hawk Wing, in Saturday's 2000 Guineas Stakes at Newmarket in England. They will be opposed by a three-pronged Godolphin entry headed by Naheef, the mount of Frankie Dettori.

The winner of the Group 1 National Stakes in his latest start in September, Hawk Wing is one of 12 Guineas starters in the 22-strong field who will be making their seasonal debuts in Britain's one-mile classic.

Another is Rock of Gibraltar, also trained by O'Brien. A son of Danehill, Rock of Gibraltar is a two-time Group 1 winner, and defeated Hawk Wing by two lengths in the Group 3 Railway Stakes last July. With the ground expected to be just on the soft side of good, Rock of Gibraltar could prove difficult to beat.

A Group 3 winner last summer, Naheef was most impressive in landing a one-mile private Godolphin trial by six lengths at Nad Al Sheba on April 2. He is the reason Dettori will be in Newmarket on Saturday and not at Churchill Downs aboard Essence of Dubai in the Kentucky Derby.

The victory of King of Happiness, trained by Michael Stoute, in the Group 3 Craven Stakes over the Guineas course and distance on April 18 established him as the 3-1 second choice for Saturday's race. Trained by Michael Stoute, he is one of three undefeated colts in the lineup, along with Love Regardless and Andre Fabre's dangerous French invader, Massalani.

Massalani is a son of the 1996 French 2000 Guineas winner, Ashkalani. Massalani took the listed Prix Djebel on April 8 by a half-length over Zipping.

Trained by Robert Collet, Zipping is a son of Zafonic, who won the 2000 Guineas in 1993. Zipping was second twice behind Johannesburg last year in Group 1 events but appears to be limited to sprint distances.

Two longshots with live chances could be Aramram, the Fosters-International runner-up to Castle Gandolfo who took the listed Thirsk Classic Trial in his next start, and Where or When, a Group 3 winner at Newmarket last fall who will be ridden by the ever-reliable Richard Quinn.