Connections thinking of direct Guineas route with Bucanero Fuerte

Bucanero Fuerte is likely to begin his three-year-old campaign in the 2000 Guineas after a juvenile season that saw only City Of Troy top him on ratings.

The colt is by Wootton Bassett and out of a mare called Frida La Blonde, making him a full-brother to 2020 Prix de l’Abbaye winner Wooded.

Trained in Westmeath by Adrian Murray and owned by Amo Racing, the bay made a winning debut at the Curragh last March and then took aim at Royal Ascot.

In the Coventry Stakes, a six-furlong Group Two, he was third at 16-1 when beaten only a length with River Tiber and Army Ethos.

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That run led him to the Railway Stakes at the Curragh, where he prevailed ahead of Aidan O’Brien’s Unquestionable before returning to the same track to land the Group One Phoenix Stakes by four lengths.

Bucanero Fuerte winning in debut at the Curragh
Bucanero Fuerte winning in debut at the Curragh (Healy Racing/PA)

His final run as a juvenile was again at the Curragh, where he contested the National Stakes and was third behind Henry Longfellow in a run Murray considers to have been one too many.

Bucanero Fuerte has since been listed as the second-highest rated two-year-old of 2023, gaining a mark of 120 as City Of Troy topped the list on 125 and Henry Longfellow and Vandeek shared third place on 119.

Naturally there will be high hopes for them all and the Amo runner will look to live up to the expectations that come with his reputation in his three-year-old season.

The Guineas is the likely starting point for the horse, who will be entered in both the English and Irish renewals of the race, though the former is favoured by his trainer.

“He’s great, he’s been back cantering for two months now and I’m very happy with him,” said Murray.

Bucanero Fuerte winning the Phoenix Stakes
Bucanero Fuerte winning the Phoenix Stakes (Brian Lawless/PA)

“He’s got big and strong over the winter, I couldn’t be happier with him – he’s turned into a fine horse.”

Of Bucanero Fuerte’s place in the two-year-old rankings and his next steps, Murray added: “It’s hard to believe it but it’s brilliant really, we’re aiming to go to the Guineas with him.

“We probably wouldn’t go for a prep run and he’ll be entered in both, my preference would be the English I think.”

Murray and Amo Racing have another nice prospect in Elegant Man, an American-bred colt by Arrogate who won his debut at Dundalk in October.

He then stepped up to Listed level in the Wild Flower Stakes at Kempton in December, where he was second to a good yardstick in the Group One-winning Rebel’s Romance.

He began his four-year-old campaign at Dundalk last week, prevailing by three and a half lengths from Tyson Fury in an encouraging performance.

The colt has been put forward for the Dubai World Cup at Meydan in March and that race is the immediate target ahead of the start of the domestic season.

“It was a lovely run, he’s come out of the race well,” Murray said of the Dundalk performance.

“There’s a lot more improvement in him too, we’re very happy with him.

“He’s nominated now to go to Dubai for the Dubai World Cup, he might not get in but that’s the plan at the minute.

“He’s still quite green, he’s learning, there’s more to come from him once he gets a little bit more experience.

“We’ll target the turf over the summer but we haven’t any plans after Dubai, so we’ll go there if we get in.”

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