Nando Parrado is one of several colts on trial for next month’s Qipco 2000 Guineas in what looks a high-class renewal of the Watership Down Stud Too Darn Hot Greenham Stakes at Newbury.
Clive Cox’s charge produced one of the biggest shocks in Royal Ascot history when landing last season’s Coventry Stakes at 150-1.
The son of Kodiac went on to prove that performance was no fluke, however – filling the runner-up spot behind star American filly Campanelle in the Prix Morny before again finding only one too strong when stepped up to seven furlongs for the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere.
Cox reports Nando Parrado in rude health ahead of his reappearance, saying: “He’s pleased me very much and has been working nicely.
“He was a solid Group Two winner in the Coventry and ran some great races in defeat after that at Group One level.
“It was very, very testing ground in Paris for the Lagardere, so it was a bit (inconclusive regarding trip).
“We’ve got confidence in him over seven (furlongs) and I still think a mile is well within his compass.”
The likely favourite is the the Richard Hannon-trained Chindit, who looked every inch a top-class colt in the making when winning his first three juvenile starts – completing his hat-trick in the Group Two Champagne Stakes.
He returns with perhaps a little to prove after failing to fire on his most recent outing in the Dewhurst at Newmarket.
“On that day (of the Dewhurst), the times said it was riding like it was heavy ground and both Chindit and Etonian were wheel-spinning the whole way,” Hannon said.
“Chindit travelled into it very well, like he normally does, and didn’t pick up at all. I’m more than happy to forgive that run.”
While Hannon is confident Chindit will enjoy a profitable campaign, he admits he does have reservations about whether he will stay the Guineas trip of a mile.
He told Sky Sports Racing: “He’s got a lot more speed that people think. To me, last year it looked like he wanted all of that seven furlongs when he won the Champagne Stakes and was crying out for a mile.
“I hope that’s the case, but the nice thing with a three-year-old now is if you don’t get the Guineas trip, you can come back to Royal Ascot for six furlongs (in the Commonwealth Cup).”
Having struck gold with the brilliant Mohaather in the 2019 renewal, Marcus Tregoning bids for another victory with Alkumait.
Winner of the Mill Reef Stakes at this venue in September, the son of Showcasing is another bidding to bounce back from a disappointing effort in the Dewhurst.
Alkumait is one of two horses carrying the colours of the late Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum along with the Charlie Hills-trained Mujbar, who won the Horris Hill over the course and distance when last seen.
Interestingly, the owner’s retained rider Jim Crowley has sided with the latter, with Dane O’Neill partnering Alkumait.
“Jim very much had the choice,” said Shadwell racing manager Angus Gold.
“Sunday will tell us a lot more, but the Hills camp have always hoped Mujbar was going to make into a Guineas horse.
“He obviously won a Group race as a two-year-old, as did Alkumait, but everything about Alkumait that I have seen suggests he’s more of a sprinter – and I know Jim feels the same.
“Marcus wants to see whether he would stay seven furlongs. We’ll be trying to get him to settle and finish it off, so we learn whether he does stay. He didn’t stay in the Dewhurst last year, but that might not have been just down to stamina.
“I think Jim is looking to the future and we’re thinking that if Mujbar has come on, he could be a Guineas horse, whereas I would be pleasantly surprised if Alkumait made a Guineas horse.
“We could all be wrong and I’d be delighted to be proven wrong, but at this stage I see Alkumait as more of a Commonwealth Cup type.”
Frankie Dettori partners dual Chelmsford scorer Fundamental for John and Thady Gosden.
John Gosden said: “He won well the other day at Chelmsford and seven furlongs might be his trip.
“I think it looks a really good trial. In fact I think they have all been good trials this week – the Craven and Nell Gwyn, which looked very nice, and this looks a strong Greenham.
“That is what we want, nice horses around.”