Tag Archive for: 2000 Guineas

Eydon team prepared to wait on next move

Team Eydon will be keeping a close eye on the plethora of trials taking place on both sides of the Channel over the next few weeks as they plot their next move for the Qipco 2000 Guineas fourth.

The Olden Times colt headed into the first Classic of the season on the back of an impressive win in the Feilden Stakes during the Craven meeting and proved he belonged at Group One level when outrunning his odds of 33-1.

A move up in trip is now on the cards with both the Cazoo Derby and Prix du Jockey Club under consideration, but owner Prince Faisal’s racing manager Ted Voute suggests they will not be in a rush to make a decision on his next destination, with the owner set to make the final call.

“We have not really decided what the next move is, but that is going to be the Prince’s decision as it has been the last two runs. It was his call to run in the Feilden and it was him who said let’s go for the Guineas and he has run a great race,” said Voute.

“The Prince has said there’s no rush to make a decision, we’ll see how he comes out of the race because it was quite fast ground, but he seems to have coped with it all fine.”

He went on: “He probably needs a bit further than a mile, but looking where we finished, he’s got the Derby favourite (Luxembourg) not far in front of us and we are bred along a stamina line. He’s in the English Derby and he’s in the French Derby, they are one day apart and both will be under consideration.

“I think the smart thing to do is sit and watch what comes out of all the trials and see where the best place is for Eydon to run a big race.”

The bet365 Craven Meeting – Day Three – Newmarket Racecourse
Eydon in action at Newmarket during the Craven meeting (Tim Goode/PA)

Voute hopes that alongside Mishriff, Prince Faisal could hold a strong hand for middle-distance contests later in the season.

He continued: “We’re very pleased to finish fourth, we hoped he could run well and he’s gone and finished behind the two biggest battalions in the business in Darley and Coolmore and we’re absolutely thrilled.

“The Prince is delighted, we’ve got Mishriff next door at John Gosden’s on the Bury Road and he (Prince Faisal) could have a big year ahead of him.

“Fingers crossed we can bag a big one along the line with Eydon. He’s a real eyeful, his temperament is so great, he deserves to keep running at the top level and see if he can bag a big one.”

Dubawi Legend could head to France following Guineas disappointment

Hugo Palmer is thinking of dropping Dubawi Legend back in trip following his disappointing showing in the Qipco 2000 Guineas.

The Dewhurst runner-up raced too freely during the mile Classic and came home last of the 15-runner field to leave Palmer both disappointed and scratching his head.

“It was terribly disappointing because he didn’t run his race in any way. It’s almost like he panics and forgets to breathe,” said the trainer.

Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival 2021 – Juddmonte International – York Racecourse
Dubawi Legend (right) finishing third in the Tattersalls Acomb Stakes at York last year (Nigel French/PA)

“He’s such a relaxed horse at home and if you hadn’t seen that happen in a race you would say his strongest suit is his mind because he’s got such a good mind at home. Tom (Marquand) said he went to post in a relaxed fashion and in all his home work, even when he went for a racecourse gallop at Newmarket and Wolverhampton, he switches off so beautifully well.

“But he was aggressive in the Dewhurst, he was aggressive in America and he was aggressive in the Guineas and he was also quite aggressive in the Acomb, so it’s sort of at least three times if not four times we’ve seen it now.

“It’s frustrating and it is something we need to try and resolve and I think the next time he races he will wear a hood and hopefully that might help him relax. He ran very well in the Dewhurst behind the Guineas second and he made the running that day and I think we might just have to make the running with him going forward.”

A trip across the channel could now be on the cards for the three-year-old with ParisLongchamp’s Listed Prix De Pontarme on May 26 an option, and the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot also entering calculations for later in the summer.

“There’s a race at Longchamp on May 26, a seven-furlong Listed race for three-year-olds only, so I thought we might go there and if he could win that he might be a horse for the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot,” Palmer continued.

“I think we have to drop in trip and in grade. I joked on Sunday morning that before they changed the rules three years ago I would have run him in a novice race under a penalty off 115 and just get him some confidence, but quite rightly you can’t do that anymore, so I think the Listed race is the lowest grade I can find for him at the moment.”

Palmer, who has recently taken over the training duties at Michael Owen’s Manor House Stables, also concedes Dubawi Legend may well end up as a sprinter, but refuses to give up hope he can be a top-class operator for the Classic-winning handler.

“He may be a sprinter, he’s a very fast horse, we may come back to six furlongs with him. But I think if we go straight to six and he’s not a sprinter we’d never get him back,” added Palmer.

“We’re on a rescue mission because it went very badly wrong on Saturday. Although in many ways it is less depressing that he just didn’t run his race than it would be if he was simply not good enough. If he finished eighth and just wasn’t good enough I would be really gutted, but hopefully we can find the key to him, it was only his fifth start and he’s still a young horse.”

Proud Appleby heaps praise on James Doyle after Classic first

Charlie Appleby secured his first win in the Qipco 2000 Guineas when Coroebus beat better-fancied stablemate Native Trail – and the trainer was emotional about providing James Doyle with his first victory in a British Classic.

Given there are only five of them a year it should be very tough to win one. But for such a talented horseman as Doyle, who has spent the large majority of his career riding for either the late Khalid Abdullah’s Juddmonte operation or Godolphin, he will have been presented with better chances than most.

There must have been a thought in his mind that the best opportunities had passed him by, as he was on board John Gosden’s brilliant Kingman when he met with his only defeat at three in the Guineas when beaten by 40-1 chance Night Of Thunder.

Doyle also had the chance to win with Adayar in the Cazoo Derby last season but preferred the claims of One Ruler, with William Buick on Hurricane Lane.

James Doyle laps up the applause
James Doyle laps up the applause (Tim Goode/PA)

Buick and Doyle signed for Godolphin when both were 26 back in 2014, with Buick assigned to Appleby and Doyle with Saeed bin Suroor.

Unfortunately for Doyle and Bin Suroor their alliance never took off and they parted ways in 2016, but Doyle stayed on the Godolphin team and took up a role as number two to Buick at Appleby’s emerging yard.

He has not really looked back, but for a man at the peak of his powers, Doyle must have started to become a tad frustrated at always taking the leftovers from his great pal.

This looked a tricky choice for Buick, though, as despite Native Trail being the unbeaten champion juvenile, Coroebus had shown flashes of brilliance and Appleby had repeatedly stated there was very little between the pair.

Coroebus (white hat) sees off Native Trail
Coroebus (white hat) sees off Native Trail (right)

And so it proved, with the Appleby runners coming clear and the 5-1 shot beating the 5-4 favourite by three-quarters of a length.

“I’m delighted for Team Godolphin for giving me the opportunity to train these horses and especially for James, for him to have his first Classic winner is very special,” said Appleby.

“He’s just a great team member. He’s got to sit there and see William getting first choice all the time but I’ve never seen him quibble or get upset, he just rides the same race day in day out and I take my hat off to him.

“James deserves that. What I love about the guy is he’s a friend. He’s always waiting to see what Will is riding. They are great second rides but it shows a great strength of character to still go out and do his best for you.”

Charlie Appleby all smiles with Coroebus
Charlie Appleby all smiles with Coroebus (David Davies/PA)

Referring to the horses, Appleby added: “Last October I felt Coroebus could even be ahead of Native Trail, but he just hadn’t achieved the same on the track – it’s not often I get it right.

“We’ve had so many Dubawis through our hands and we’re getting to know them, the ones that are the real horses, and this one stood out in the spring. I said to Sheikh Mohammed I could run him in May but we didn’t want to do that as we viewed him as a longer-term project.

“Like any good horse he has a lot of natural pace and when they have that aligned with the physique he had you can’t help but get excited about them.”

For Doyle, it was justification for staying in his supporting role as long as he has.

“It is just amazing how hard it is to win this race. I’ve ridden some very good horses, Kingman and Barney Roy, I hate to mention them but they were as good as their generation at this stage but they both fell short through no fault of their own,” he said.

“I was a bit emotional pulling up as I couldn’t believe the way it worked out. It has been a tough couple of years. I’ve had good opportunities on Hurricane Lane in the Arc and things like that, but it just hasn’t worked out for whatever reason.

“So you have a few years on the sidelines a bit when you have previously had a good time of getting to feel what it is like to win these big races and when you don’t for a little while, it does frustrate you a little bit.

“When you do feel it again it is incredible. William is a great friend of mine and I think he would have known this meant a lot. He came up and said ‘you deserve that, well done’.

“He sees the work we both put in in the mornings and we have been best mates and competitors for a long time and he can sense I get frustrated when I see him riding all these good horses.

A proud moment for James Doyle
A proud moment for James Doyle (David Davies/PA)

“Don’t get me wrong he is top drawer and it is incredible to be in the same team, but he can sense that I have been frustrated.”

It was a triumph made even more special for Doyle as his mother, Jaqueline, had flown in from America.

He added: “I have spoken to her and she was waiting for me before the prize giving and she gave me a big hug. She has been on the path with me and has seen the struggles I had to go through.

“She can relate and feel the things I go through and she has been a great mentor to me throughout my career.”

O’Brien: All systems go for Epsom with Luxembourg

All roads lead to the Cazoo Derby for Luxembourg after he strengthened his position as ante-post favourite for the premier Classic by finishing third in the Qipco 2000 Guineas.

Aidan O’Brien’s colt emulated his illustrious sire Camelot by ending an unbeaten juvenile campaign with victory in the Vertem Futurity Trophy at Doncaster in October.

Camelot, of course, went on to win both the Guineas and the Derby as a three-year-old before being narrowly denied the Triple Crown in the St Leger at Doncaster.

At 9-2 Luxembourg was the second-favourite to strike gold on his return to action over Newmarket’s Rowley Mile – and while a tardy start put him on the back foot, there was much to like about the way he stayed on to pick up minor honours behind Charlie Appleby’s pair of Coroebus and Native Trail.

Paddy Power were impressed enough to trim his Epsom odds to 5-2 from 100-30, and his trainer was thrilled with his performance.

“We’re delighted really. He was ready to start and we’re delighted with his run,” said O’Brien.

“Ryan (Moore) was delighted with him. He said he stepped a shade slow and caught a heel after about 50 yards and because of that he ended up maybe a length or two further back than where he wanted to be.

“I thought Ryan gave him a beautiful ride, he came home very well and the plan always was to come here and then go to the Derby. If everything is well, that’s the way we’ll be going.”

The Ballydoyle handler expects a step up in trip to bring about further improvement in Luxembourg.

He added: “For us the plan was to come here and go to the Derby next regardless. Obviously our horse has a middle-distance pedigree and he was always going to go a mile and a quarter and being by Camelot there was always a good chance that he’d get a mile and a half.

“The first two were two good colts last year. It’s a great start for our horse and we have a good break between now and Epsom.”

O’Brien’s other Guineas runner, Point Lonsdale, could finish only 10th in the hands of Frankie Dettori.

O’Brien said: “I think he maybe wasn’t as forward as the other horse – we think he will come forward.”

Eydon ran a big race in fourth place
Eydon ran a big race in fourth place (Tim Goode/PA)

Equally pleased was Roger Varian, whose Feilden winner Eydon ran an excellent race in fourth at 33-1.

“Eydon has run a massive race as that was only his second race on turf and the three in front of him were previous Group winners,” said the Newmarket trainer.

“He’s in two Derbys and we may go up in trip with him but whether it’s up to a mile and a half, we’ll see. We’ll let Prince Faisal (owner) digest the result before we make a decision.”

Coroebus denies Native Trail for Appleby one-two in 2000 Guineas

Coroebus led home stablemate and hot favourite Native Trail to provide trainer Charlie Appleby with a one-two in the Qipco 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.

The Moulton Paddocks handler appeared to hold the ace hand in his bid for a first victory in the Rowley Mile Classic, with last season’s champion juvenile Native Trail the 5-4 favourite to keep his unbeaten record intact and Coroebus also prominent in the market at 5-1.

Native Trail proved his well-being with a comprehensive victory in the Craven Stakes two and a half weeks ago weeks ago, while Coroebus was making his first competitive appearance since winning the Autumn Stakes over the course and distance in early October.

With the pair drawn on opposite sides of the track, they raced wide apart for much of the straight-mile contest, with William Buick the first to get vigorous aboard Native Trail nearest the stands side.

James Doyle, on the other hand, was able to wait until the furlong marker to pop Coroebus the question and he found plenty racing out of the dip to prevail by three-quarters of a length.

Having been under a ride from an early stage, Aidan O’Brien’s Derby favourite Luxembourg made eyecatching late gains to finish best of the rest in third.

Appleby said: “I feel like I felt in the lead up to the race all the way, to be honest – both those horses at every step took a step forward.

“Native Trail came here and won the Craven and the same morning Coroebus came for a gallop and William said he felt very exciting, but he couldn’t get off Native Trail with what he’d achieved.

“Coming into today I felt we had two live contenders. The draw didn’t worry me. They were good horses racing over a straight line, just keep it simple.

“Like any good horse he has a lot of natural pace and when they have that aligned with the physique you can’t help but get excited about them.”

He added: “We’ll split them up now. It’s a nice discussion, but the winner I expect will go to the St James’s Palace and Native Trail will go back to the Curragh where he’s already won before, he’ll go for the Irish Guineas.”

Doyle had come close in the Guineas before, notably when beaten just half a length on the brilliant Kingman in 2014.

Coroebus (white cap) holds of Native Trail
Coroebus (white cap) holds of Native Trail (blue cap) (Tim Goode/PA)

“He travelled incredibly strongly throughout, there’s no reason to believe he won’t improve from today because he was exuberant through the early part of the race, I just had to bring him back a couple of times,” said the proud rider.

“I was thinking at halfway ‘this is all going pretty well’, I just thought I’d keep very patient – something joined me quite quick and I just asked him a couple of questions going into the dip and he responded incredibly. If I’d sat a bit longer he’d have been much more impressive.

“This race has been something that has always annoyed me, looking at replays over and over again of Kingman’s Guineas and Barney Roy’s Guineas, and then it goes as simple as it did today.”

O’Brien expects to learn plenty about Luxembourg and Lonsdale

Luxembourg and Point Lonsdale give Aidan O’Brien a strong hand as the master of Ballydoyle goes in search of an 11th success in the Qipco 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.

A son of O’Brien’s 2012 winner Camelot, Luxembourg was unbeaten in three starts as a juvenile and emulated his sire with victory in the Vertem Futurity Trophy at Doncaster in October.

Camelot, of course, went on to win the Guineas and the Derby, for which Luxembourg heads ante-post lists, before being narrowly denied the fabled Triple Crown in the St Leger.

Like his sire Luxembourg is expected to step up in trip later in the year, but O’Brien is happy to give him a first tilt at Classic glory over the Rowley Mile.

“We’ve been happy with Luxembourg and everything has gone well all the way along with him,” O’Brien said.

“He was away at the Curragh five weeks ago and we were happy with what he did and we’ve been happy with everything since.

“We saw in his three runs last season that he’s a high cruiser and obviously he won over a mile last year. Obviously it is a big ask to start him off in the Guineas and he is looking like he will be a middle-distance horse, but we started similar horses like Camelot and Australia in the Guineas.

“We think and hope it is the right place to start. He seems in good form and we will learn a lot about him.”

Point Lonsdale in action at Leopardstown
Point Lonsdale in action at Leopardstown (Brian Lawless/PA)

With Ryan Moore siding with Luxembourg, Frankie Dettori comes in for the ride on Point Lonsdale, who lost his unbeaten record when finishing second to short-priced Guineas favourite Native Trail at the Curragh on his final start at two.

He is behind only his stablemate in the Epsom market, and O’Brien added: “Point Lonsdale is in good form too and he was away at the Curragh as well.

“He hasn’t run beyond seven furlongs, but we always thought that he would stay.

“Everything has gone well with him and we’ve been happy with him since the Curragh.”

Frankie Dettori is action again for Ballydoyle
Frankie Dettori is in action again for Ballydoyle (John Walton/PA)

Dettori has a fine big-race record when teaming up with O’Brien, and said in his blog for Sporting Index: “I know Point Lonsdale quite well even though I’ve not ridden him. He beat me in the Chesham last year when I was on Reach For The Moon and he seems a pretty straightforward horse.

“He was beaten fair and square by Native Trail in the National Stakes, but a lot can change between two and three. Over six months have passed since then and Aidan’s record in the Guineas is second to none.

“I won the 1000 on a second string, Mother Earth, last year so I’m pretty hopeful of another big spin this time. Native Trail sets a very high standard for us to beat, but I’m going to go in there thinking I can lower his colours. You’ve got to be positive.

“As for the draw, we’re in 11, but I don’t think it will matter too much this year with only 15 runners. Point Lonsdale seems very straightforward so I’d imagine he can adapt to whatever happens.”

Perfect Power tries a mile for the first time, having been successful on his season return in the Greenham over seven furlongs at Newbury two weeks ago.

Christophe Soumillon maintains the partnership with son of Ardad, who won four of his six outings as a juvenile, including Group One strikes in the Prix Morny at Deauville and the Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket.

Trainer Richard Fahey feels he took his seasonal bow and the step up in trip in his stride, despite not being fully fit.

“I sort of didn’t have him fully wound up (in the Greenham) and I thought we’d learn a little bit about him,” Fahey said.

“The last thing I wanted was him fully warmed up because if it looked like we weren’t going for the Guineas, we would have a two-month dry spell before he’d run again.

“I used it as a prep, I thought he looked a little but chubby around the edges walking around the parade ring but in my mind I’d left some improvement in him.

“He needed the run and he took a big blow afterwards but there was no hiding place in the race, it’s put him spot on and I haven’t had to do much with him since.

Perfect Power will be partnered by Christophe Soumillon
Perfect Power will be partnered by Christophe Soumillon (Steven Paston/PA)

“It was a relief, but it’s not that you’re worried about the ability of the horse, it’s just when you have such a good two-year-old you’re then always asked ‘has he trained on?’. That was the relief.

“This horse has got a lot of natural speed, I could run him in a Commonwealth Cup if I wanted, I’ve put him in the St James’s Palace and the Commonwealth Cup – how many horses can you do that with?

“I always think it’s good to have won at Newmarket, coming down the dip we have seen so many good horses not cope with it. It can only be a major plus.”

Galileo Gold took the 2016 renewal for Hugo Palmer and he runs Dubawi Legend, another making his reappearance. He was two lengths behind Native Trail in the Dewhurst and is partnered by Tom Marquand for the first time.

Dubawi Legend (14) was last seen finishing 10th of 13 to Modern Games in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Del Mar in November.

Palmer said: “We have no regrets about going to the Breeders’ Cup. We had a stop-start year with him and he needed to grow up and I very much felt that going out there would be like giving him three more races.

“It was a complete disaster, but it did teach him and he does seem to be more grown up.

“I’m pretty sure I’m right in saying that no Breeders’ Cup juvenile winner has come back and won a European Classic, but there are over a dozen beaten horses from the Breeders’ Cup that have.

“I just felt there was less chance of things going wrong if we didn’t run in a trial. If we had, we’d have had to take on Perfect Power and whether we’d beaten him or not, we’d have had a very hard race two weeks out for the Guineas, which is what scared me.

“I think our horse would win Galileo Gold’s Guineas. If they were the same year, I feel Galileo Gold would finish second to him, but it’s a different year and a different time.”

He added: “He was second in the Dewhurst last year, the Dewhurst is normally Europe’s leading two-year-old race and the winner is usually the champion two-year-old and the favourite for next year’s Guineas, which is exactly that the winner of the race this time was, Native Trail.

“We were just about two lengths behind him so we’ve got two lengths to find. He’s grown, he’s filled out, he’s done very well.

“I think I’ve trained everything out of the mare, they’ve all won and this is much the best of them. We’ve not proved he’ll stay a mile, but I’m very confident he will, his sister stayed a mile and three-quarters.

“We’re very excited about Saturday.”

Aside from Native Trail and Luxembourg, there are two other colts who take unbeaten records into the race.

Checkandchallenge will have his first race on turf in the Guineas
Checkandchallenge will have his first race on turf in the Guineas (Richard Sellers/PA)

William Knight trains Checkandchallenge, who has twice been successful, with a debut success over seven furlongs at Wolverhampton in November and over a mile on his three-year-old bow in a Listed race at Newcastle earlier this month.

“He is in very good form. He is a big underdog, but at the same time he deserves to be in the line-up and I think he can run a big race,” said Knight.

“There is a little bit of an unknown with him, the unknown being that we don’t really know how good he is.”

The other who has yet to see his colours lowered is Light Infantry, who is making his seasonal reappearance having taken the Horris Hill at Newbury on the second of his two starts last season.

Of Jamie Spencer’s mount, trainer David Simcock said: “I’m really happy with him. It will be interesting to see him on fast ground and we’re really looking forward to running him.

“He has done nothing wrong and I think he will run well. How shall I put it? I think there will be more behind him than in front of him.”

Eydon and David Egan took the Feilden Stakes
Eydon and David Egan took the Fielden Stakes (Tim Goode/PA)

Eydon took the Feilden Stakes at Newmarket on his seasonal bow over nine furlongs, so David Egan’s mount is one who has no stamina doubts.

“We were very impressed with him in the Feilden and he’s come out of the race well,” said his trainer Roger Varian.

“It will be a different test altogether on Saturday, but we couldn’t be more pleased with his condition and hope he will run well.”

Bayside Boy skips Newmarket for French Guineas

Roger Varian has decided to stick with the original plan and head to Longchamp for the Poule d’Essai des Poulains with his Champagne Stakes winner Bayside Boy.

The New Bay colt followed up that Doncaster victory, where he beat the Queen’s Derby hope Reach For The Moon, with a pair of placed efforts at Group One level in the autumn.

Firstly he was third to Native Trail in the Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket and then he returned to Town Moor to fill the same position behind Luxembourg in the Vertem Futurity Trophy.

Bayside Boy was left in the Qipco 2000 Guineas at the five-day stage, but the three-year-old’s name was missing from the final line-up, with his Classic aspirations set on France in a fortnight.

“Bayside Boy is in great form but we’re going to hang on and go to France for the French 2000 Guineas,” said Varian.

Roger Varian File Photo
Roger Varian thinks the French 2000 Guineas is the right race for his Bayside Boy (Mike Egerton/PA)

“We’ve been thinking French Guineas all winter for this horse and it is very easy to get sucked into Newmarket the closer you get to the race, but we are going to stick to our original thoughts.

“We think the Longchamp mile will suit him well, he’s in great form, he could easily have lined up on Saturday at Newmarket, but we will go to France and in two weeks time we will find out then if that is the right call or not.”

Native Trail takes on 14 in Qipco 2000 Guineas

Native Trail is set to face 14 rivals when he puts his unbeaten record on the line in the Qipco 2000 Guineas at Newmarket on Saturday.

The Oasis Dream colt was crowned last season’s champion juvenile after winning each of his four starts, including Group One triumphs in the National Stakes at the Curragh and the Dewhurst at Newmarket.

He picked up where he left off with a comeback victory in the Craven Stakes two and a half weeks ago and will be a warm order to provide trainer Charlie Appleby with a first Guineas success from stall 15.

The Moulton Paddocks handler has a major second string to his bow in the form of Coroebus who, like Native Trail, has already won over the Rowley Mile – in last season’s Autumn Stakes – and is drawn furthest away from his stablemate in stall one.

Aidan O’Brien, who has already won the first Classic of the season on a record 10 occasions, also fires a twin assault, with Luxembourg and Point Lonsdale both declared.

Beresford Stakes and Vertem Futurity Trophy winner Luxembourg appears the Ballydoyle handler’s first string ahead of Point Lonsdale, who won his first four starts before finding Native Trail too strong at the Curragh.

The Richard Fahey-trained Perfect Power rounded off his juvenile campaign with back-to-back wins at the top level over six furlongs and successfully stepped up to seven in the Greenham at Newbury. Two weeks later, the son of Ardad tests the water over a mile for the first time.

Hugo Palmer has never made any secret of the regard in which he holds Dubawi Legend, who was second to Native Trail in the Dewhurst in October and renews rivalry.

Eydon (centre) winning at Newmarket
Eydon (centre) winning at Newmarket (Tim Goode/PA)

Eydon made a big impression in the Feilden Stakes at the Craven meeting and is swiftly stepped up in class by Roger Varian, while William Knight’s Checkandchallenge makes his competitive debut on turf following successive wins on the all-weather.

Andrew Balding is represented by last season’s Coventry Stakes winner Berkshire Shadow and Richard Hannon saddles both dual Group Two scorer Lusail and Free Handicap runner-up Tacarib Bay.

Recent Leopardstown maiden winner Boundless Ocean (Jim Bolger), two-time victor Light Infantry (David Simcock), Royal Patronage (Mark and Charlie Johnson) – who pipped Coroebus in Newmarket’s Royal Lodge Stakes in September – and rank outsider The Wizard Of Eye (Stan Moore) complete the line-up.

Angel Bleu to wait for French Guineas

Ralph Beckett has confirmed Angel Bleu will miss the Qipco 2000 Guineas this weekend in favour of a trip to Paris for the Poule d’Essai des Poulains.

The Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere winner reappeared in the Greenham Stakes at Newbury, where he was third to Perfect Power.

Speaking at Ascot on Wednesday, Beckett said: “Angel Bleu certainly won’t run (this weekend). He is going to go to France. He is in good shape. It is just the ground.

“There is the slight element that the form book indicates all his best form is round a bend. There is an element of that as well.”

A son of Dark Angel and the regular mount of Frankie Dettori, Angel Bleu enjoyed a fine juvenile campaign – winning the Vintage Stakes at Goodwood before scoring in the Lagardere on Arc day, a Group One success he backed up in the Criterium International at Saint-Cloud.

Following the news that Dettori would be available for the Classic the Italian revealed he would be riding for Coolmore, but as yet which horses, in both the 1000 and 2000 Guineas, remains to be seen.

“I’m riding for Coolmore in the 1000 and 2000, but they’ll decide what I ride,” he told Sky Sports Racing.

Aidan O’Brien runs Luxembourg and Point Lonsdale in the 2000 and possibly Glounthaune, while he is set to field Tenebrism and Tuesday in the fillies’ Classic.

Fahey content as Guineas bid nears with Perfect Power

Richard Fahey is quietly confident regarding the chances of Perfect Power ahead of his bid for the Qipco 2000 Guineas Stakes at Newmarket on Saturday.

The colt made a perfect start to the season when landing the Greenham Stakes at Newbury earlier in the month, prevailing comfortably by a length and half from Richard Hannon’s Lusail.

Last year Perfect Power was seen on six occasions, winning the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot in June before going on to claim Group One glory in both the Prix Morny at Deauville and the Middle Park at Newmarket.

Having spent the latter end of last term campaigning over six furlongs, the three-year-old was sent to the Greenham to test his stamina over seven furlongs instead of stepping straight up to a mile in the most established Guineas trial, the Craven.

The 2000 Guineas, the first Classic of the season and the opening race of the Qipco British Champions Series, is an increase in trip again as it is run over a mile.

“The other race (the Craven) is a mile and I hate going from six to a mile, I think it’s a huge step,” Fahey explained.

Perfect Power winning the Greenham Stakes at Newbury Racecourse
Perfect Power winning the Greenham Stakes at Newbury Racecourse (Steven Paston/PA)

“It’s a third of the distance they’ve been before and in the Greenham there is no Group One penalty so they’ve given us the opportunity for the Group One-winning two-year-olds. It was an easy choice for me to go to Newbury.”

Though his efforts between the stalls and the winning post have filled Fahey with confidence, the three-year-old has caused concern with his habit of tearing down to the start at a pace much faster than ideal.

As a result Fahey intends to send the horse to post early at Newmarket and jockey Christophe Soumillon will be legged up en route rather than in the paddock.

“It’s a huge problem, it’s a worry. As soon as he hits the grass he goes, it’s 0-45 in six strides and he would go (bolt) with you,” said Fahey.

“He did in the Middle Park, which would have been a trainer’s excuse had he got beaten, we’ve had a think about it and I think we’ll probably go down early and lead him.

“He’s done it twice now. In the Middle Park he half-bolted down to the start, he was going an awful lot quicker than I wanted to go and definitely quicker than Christophe wanted.”

Jockey Christophe Soumillon after the Greenham success
Jockey Christophe Soumillon after the Greenham success (Steven Paston/PA)

Despite his over-exuberance before his races, Perfect Power is a different horse entirely at home and is noted for his easy going temperament.

“I don’t know where it comes from because he is a completely laid-back character at home, I need him to pick his bridle up, not to wind him down. He’s very relaxed, it’s just something in his system that we’ve got to get out,” said Fahey.

“He’s an exciting horse to train but when I say exciting, he never over expresses himself!

“He just roams around the place, he eats all day, he sleeps all day. He’s a super horse to have around the place.

“He’s a very relaxed character, he never, ever gets flustered and he never, ever turns a hair or does anything wrong.”

He went on: “When you’re galloping a Group One winner you expect them to win on the gallops by five or six lengths but he joins them on bridle and says hello to them when he gets to them. When he gets to the track he can pick up, he’s got a blistering turn of speed.”

Perfect Power’s stamina will be put to the test when he lines up for the Guineas, but Fahey considers his Greenham victory a source of confidence and Soumillon has long had faith in the horse’s ability to stay.

“If you didn’t know the horse at all and just sat down and watched the race (Greenham) stone cold, you would be quite confident that he’s going to stay a mile,” said Fahey.

“He’s going to be a stallion now whatever he does, so you feel an obligation to protect them and maybe not ask the impossible but the dam went over a mile and quarter and her best form was probably over a mile and a half.

“That gives you confidence, the horse is helping me as in his races he switches off and sits behind the bridle and he’s going to give us every chance.

“Christophe was mad (keen) to go seven furlongs last year, even when he won the French race (Prix Morny) he kept saying ‘this guy will definitely go seven’.

Perfect Power (left) on his way to victory in the Middle Park
Perfect Power (left) on his way to victory in the Middle Park (Tim Goode/PA)

“We didn’t feel the need to go seven and we drew a line through the (Prix Jean-luc) Lagardere just to give him a break, he’d had six runs. In Christophe’s mind, seven furlongs last year wouldn’t have been a problem and if he’d have won over seven last year we wouldn’t be having this conversation.”

The Guineas market is dominated by Godolphin’s unbeaten Native Trail, a comfortable winner of the Craven and a horse that caught Fahey’s eye when he passed through the sales ring last year.

“Funnily enough I tried to get a client to buy him,” he said.

“I wouldn’t say he was the underbidder but he wasn’t far off it, so he’s a horse I’ve always been taken by and he’s done nothing on the track to change my mind.”

Despite having admired Native Trail for some time, Fahey is not intimidated by taking on either the horse or his hugely successful connections.

He said: “We’re taking on the big guns and I just hope we can compete. I’m not saying I’m confident we’re going to beat him, but if we did I wouldn’t be shocked.”

Palmer positive ahead of Dubawi Legend’s 2000 Guineas challenge

Hugo Palmer is confident Dubawi Legend can give Native Trail a run for his money in the Qipco 2000 Guineas at Newmarket on Saturday.

Last season’s champion juvenile and a facile winner of the Craven Stakes over the course and distance earlier in the month, Native Trail is odds-on with some bookmakers to provide trainer Charlie Appleby with a first victory in the Rowley Mile Classic.

Dubawi Legend was only two lengths behind Native Trail when runner-up in the Dewhurst last season, however, and his trainer – who won the 2000 Guineas six years ago with Galileo Gold – believes his latest challenger has what it takes to make his presence felt.

“His turn of foot and his change of gear is what’s exciting about him,” said Palmer.

“On a rating of 115, he was the joint second highest-rated two-year-old in Europe. Galileo Gold at the same stage was rated 110, so he is the best two-year-old I’ve trained without a doubt.

“He only has to improve 10 per cent and we’re right there on the premises.”

Native Trail and Dubawi Legend were among 19 colts to stand their ground at Monday’s confirmation stage, with Appleby also set to saddle Coroebus.

With James Doyle committed to riding him for Godolphin, Palmer has booked Tom Marquand to ride his charge, having been on board for a racecourse gallop at Newmarket earlier in the month.

Hugo Palmer has high hopes for Dubawi Legend
Hugo Palmer has high hopes for Dubawi Legend (Simon Cooper/PA)

While respectful of the threat posed by Native Trail, Palmer is not frightened of taking him on.

He said: “Native Trail beat a whole lot of maiden winners and horses that were 50-1 for the Guineas in the Craven. At the same time, I don’t think William Buick had to hit him more than once and he beat them three and a half lengths and you don’t know what was there.

“I think it’s going to be a pretty big field on Saturday. There’s 19 left in and you don’t stay in for free, so you must stay in with the thought of you’re going to run.

“I can’t help but think a bigger field will hinder Native Trail as there’ll be some non-stayers stopping in front of him. There’ll be some non-stayers stopping in front of us as well, of course.”

Having only recently moved from Newmarket to Cheshire to replace Tom Dascombe at the helm at Michael Owen’s Manor House Stables, Palmer admits it would be a huge boost for the new partnership if they could claim Classic glory this weekend.

He added: “It would be a dream scenario wherever I was training. Even for someone who has won as many of these races as Aidan O’Brien, you only have to look at the raptures of joy when they win a big race.

“Whoever you are and wherever you are, winning these big races is incredibly special, but obviously every race we win this year is incredibly important and every good race we win is doubly important.”

Native Trail and Coroebus are the top two in the market for Saturday’s feature ahead of the O’Brien-trained Luxembourg.

The unbeaten son of Camelot is one of three potential Ballydoyle representatives along with Glounthaune and Point Lonsdale.

Other contenders include Richard Fahey’s Perfect Power, who won two Group Ones last season and made a successful return in the Greenham Stakes at Newbury recently.

Monday Musings: Of Ryan, and Raiding Parties

“It’s a long way to Tipperary”, the first world war British army recruits used to sing as they trudged along the blasted fields of France, writes Tony Stafford. More than a century later, Ryan Moore fitted in an afternoon there sandwiched in between two successful days in Surrey, with a winner apiece at Epsom and Sandown Park.

Tipperary also provided a victory for Aidan O’Brien on Thursday but when the private jet touched down for its second Irish hop for Navan on Saturday, the serious business began. It is, after all, Guineas week – yes April 30th rather than the first Saturday in May - and the barely started flat-race season will be two-fifths of the way through the 2022 Classic races by May Day.

If we needed a sign that O’Brien senior, like his main adversary for the first Classic, Charlie Appleby, has his team in form, then Navan would tell us. Before the meeting Ryan told a mutual friend that all the maidens would run well.

In the event Ryan got on three of O’Brien’s five winners, Aidan matching stay-at-home Paul Nicholls’ tally on the final day of yet another victorious jumps championship at Sandown. Understandably, Nicholls preferred saving his best horses for the two four-runner and one five-runner highly-priced (if not as highly-prized as the swollen jumps pattern would wish) contests largely free from Irish interference. *Note: If you would like a detailed, reasoned evocation of the negative effect on the sport of the ever-growing jumps pattern, read editor Matt Bisogno’s highly informed piece on the subject.

Where the Irish did challenge, in the £90k to the winner Bet365 Gold Cup (nee Whitbread), they mopped up the prize, via 16/1 shot Hewick, trained by Shark Hanlon. Why he, of the flaming ginger hair, should be called “Shark” remains a mystery to me.

Indeed why he alone should have that designation when so many of his compatriots make an equally skilled job of matching and bettering his exploits by turning equine base metal into gold is probably a case for the Monopolies Commission, assuming of course that his nickname was acquired from his training days. But then it sometimes feels like there are other aspects of Irish stables’ domination of the major British jumps prizes every season that need referring to that body. All else seems to be failing as this year’s early false dawn at Cheltenham soon reverted to the usual bloodbath for the home team.

As a domestic aperitif to their top teams’ coming over at the weekend to Newmarket, there is the small matter of Punchestown, five days starting tomorrow and concluding on the day the 2,000 Guineas welcomes Luxembourg from the Coolmore boys to challenge the two prime Godolphin candidates, red-hot favourite Native Trail and market second-best, Coroebus.

Coroebus’ style had many admirers on the day he and Native Trail both won their 2021 finales, the favourite in the Dewhurst and the back-up in a lesser race.

But Native Trail is the only unbeaten colt of the pair, a distinction shared by Luxembourg and just two others from the 24 that stood their ground before the field is whittled down once more at noon today. I dealt with the case of William Knight’s Checkandchallenge, winner of a deep race at Newcastle last weekend. Coincidentally the other unbeaten colt is also trained in Newmarket, in his case by David Simcock. He is Light Infantry, twice a winner last year, and like Checkandchallenge, a son of the deceased Fast Company.

At the time he was in training as a juvenile with Brian Meehan, Fast Company showed many of the attributes of a potential Classic winner, but after an excellent half-length second in the 2007 Dewhurst behind the following year’s Derby winner, New Approach, he never raced again.

I was a regular on Thursday work mornings at Manton in those days and it was a great disappointment to Brian when Fast Company was sold to Godolphin and sent to be trained by Saeed bin Suroor. If either of these relative longshots wins on Saturday it will be a long-awaited accolade for a horse that had been under-valued for all his stud career despite being in the care of Darley throughout.

In the manner of such things, now Fast Company’s son Checkandchallenge has inevitably been attracting interest from people who could more easily shrug off the disappointment of a below-expectation run in the race – be that fourth or eighth as anything better would be a triumph - than Mr Hetherton whose colours he has carried hitherto.

I recall a last-minute pre-Derby sale by Karl Burke around a decade ago that probably made all the difference financially to his training career which at the time looked to be stalling or probably worse. I hope this very smart, sweet-travelling colt does his owner (whoever he may be on the day) and his talented trainer proud.

I make no apology for interjecting here on the Nicholls plans for Punchestown this year which are miserly in the extreme. Nicholls has never been as enthusiastic a Punchestown challenger as Nicky Henderson – I travelled to see Punjabi at the meeting four years in a row for two wins, a nose second and a pulled up (wind).

At time of writing on Sunday afternoon, Clan Des Obeaux, the impressive Aintree winner, is ranged alongside Allaho, Minella Indo, Galvin and Al Boum Photo in Wednesday’s Punchestown Gold Cup. He is a 3-1 shot, a short-enough price for all the domination of Aintree if that quartet turns up.

The only other possible for the UK jumps champ is Monmiral, slated to take on the two wonderful mares Honeysuckle and Epatante, the latter another Aintree winner, in her case over further. With around €160K to the winner in each of a dozen Grade 1 races over the five days, you would think sending a horse with place chances might be worth the risk even for cautious Paul.

Yet tomorrow’s card, worth in all €735k, hasn’t attracted a single English, Welsh or Scottish challenger. It will be great to watch on Racing TV all week but with the wistful thought that surely things should be different.

Back in the Guineas, Camelot, by Montjeu rather than the more influential Galileo (both sons of Sadler’s Wells) but hardly his inferior in terms of producing Derby winners, is Luxembourg’s sire.

When asked about his abilities, Aidan O’Brien said he has superior speed to Camelot, a horse that just saw off French Fifteen in an epic battle for the 2,000 Guineas ten years ago. He followed up in the Derby and the much-sought third leg of the Triple Crown was denied O’Brien and son Joseph when Camelot lost the St Leger by three-quarters of a length to Encke, a horse trained by the subsequently disgraced Mahmood Al Zarooni for Godolphin.

That was Camelot’s first defeat after five successive wins and prevented the first English Triple Crown since Nijinsky graced the 1970 season for an earlier O’Brien – the revered Vincent.

It's always great when the champion two-year-old gravitates to winning the 2,000 Guineas and after his bloodless Craven Stakes return that is entirely possible. Charlie has the horse with the form, but Luxembourg has the Coolmore badge all over him, not just on the sire’s side, but the dam is by Danehill Dancer, a sprinter that ran in Michael Tabor’s colours but far exceeded his decent racing ability when sent to stud.

The mare Attire provides another major link to the glorious past of Ballydoyle. Ben Sangster, her owner-breeder, is of course a son of the late Robert Sangster whose inheritance from his Vernons Pools-owning father funded the domination of the international bloodstock market in the 1980’s and 90’s. Along with Vincent’s supreme training skills and the business acumen and animal husbandry of Vincent’s son-in-law, John Magnier, they were an unbeatable partnership for more than two decades.

I’m with Luxembourg to prove on Saturday that blood is thicker than form lines and take him and Ryan, not to mention Aidan and the Coolmore team, to beat Native Trail with the underdog Checkandchallenge coming from the pack late on to clinch third. Easy, really, this flat racing.

I have loved the 2021-22 jumps season as my little daily job editing fromthestables.com which involves sharing the thoughts of around 15 trainers, ended with a nice win in the William Hill Radio Naps table. The 2022 summer table started yesterday and we were off to a flier when Rogue Millennium won for Tom Clover at 9/2. Only seven months to go!

- TS

Royal Patronage handed 2000 Guineas assignment

Royal Patronage has been given the green light to have a crack at the Qipco 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.

An impressive winner of the Acomb Stakes at York last summer, the Mark and Charlie Johnston-trained colt went on to beat leading Guineas hope Coroebus in a thrilling Royal Lodge over the Rowley Mile.

The Wootton Bassett colt suffered injury when disappointing on his final juvenile start in the Vertem Futurity Trophy at Doncaster, but having impressed in a racecourse gallop at Newmarket’s Craven meeting, connections have decided to roll the dice in the season’s first Classic on Saturday week.

Harry Herbert, chairman and managing director for owners Highclere Thoroughbred Racing, said: “After speaking with Mark and Charlie, we have decided to have a crack at the Guineas.

“He’s won a Group race over the Rowley Mile, so we know he acts on it very well, and he’s showing plenty of natural speed at home.

“He was working with some fast horses when he galloped at Newmarket the other day, albeit inferior rated horses, and he had absolutely no problem laying up with them having gone a decent clip.

“Touch wood he seems very well, there is only one Guineas and he has beaten the second-favourite, so we felt it would be madness not to throw one’s hat into the ring.”

Royal Patronage was widely expected to kick off his campaign in the Dante Stakes at York before a potential tilt at Derby glory in June.

And while he will instead return in the Guineas, a potential trip to Epsom remains on the radar.

Harry Herbert (right) has high hopes for Royal Patronage
Harry Herbert (right) has high hopes for Royal Patronage (Tim Goode/PA)

“We can use this as a Derby trial anyway, should that be the way he goes,” he added.

“If the Guineas trip turns out to be too short, the Derby would be one of his aims this year.

“But looking at his pedigree and the way he is at the moment, I think it’s absolutely right to let him take his chance at Newmarket.

“You can put a line through his Doncaster run as he was struck into and had a very nasty cut above his hock, so there was a very valid reason why he ran so far below par.

“He seems to have thrived through the winter and the stable is in great form as well, which obviously counts for a lot, so that’s where we head.”

The Highclere colours will also be carried in the Qipco 1000 Guineas by George Boughey’s Cachet, who booked her ticket with victory in the Nell Gwyn Stakes.

“I saw her this week and she is also in good form – George is very happy with her,” Herbert added.

“Having won the Nell Gwyn so well, she’ll line up in the 1000 Guineas and hopefully William Buick will ride her again.”

On having runners in the first two Classics of the year, he said: “It’s fantastic. It’s a big buzz, thrilling for the owners and everyone at Highclere – this is what we aspire to for our owners.

“We have a lovely group of horses for this year and hopefully we’ll have plenty of action and action in the right places.”

Eydon team deliberating 2000 Guineas option

It is often said that the Qipco 2000 Guineas is the best trial for the Derby and that could be the case for Eydon, who has been left in the first Classic of the season.

The son of Olden Times shot to prominence when following in his father’s footsteps and recording an impressive 22-1 win in the bet365 Feilden Stakes earlier this month.

Roger Varian’s colt hit the line strong in the hands of David Egan in that nine furlongs assignment to spark dreams of Epsom and the Cazoo Derby, for which he is a best priced 33-1 with Ladbrokes and Coral.

Owner Prince Faisal’s racing advisor Ted Voute went to check on the strapping three-year-old on Monday and reports Eydon to be in A1 condition ahead of a potential return to the Rowley Mile later this month.

“I went to see him on Monday and he looked magnificent, so I relayed that information to the Prince (Faisal), who is still in Saudi Arabia and after discussions with Roger as well, we have left him in the Guineas for the time being to keep all the options open,” said Voute.

“The Prince has said the best trial for the Derby is the Guineas, so that is definitely on our mind, but it’s just the timing from the Feilden to the Guineas is the shortest of all the options we have, so that’s really why we’re sitting and deliberating.

“Going down to Newmarket myself and having a look at him was one of the pieces of the puzzle, which I fed back into the system and as a result we’ve left him in. Sometimes you’re forced to make decisions before you want to make them, but by leaving him in the race it buys us a week.”

Prince Faisal has never been an owner to shirk a challenge, something Voute commented on when assessing Eydon’s Guineas credentials, while also suggesting he may still be overlooked in the betting for the opening Classic of the season.

Goodwood Festival – Day Two
Roger Varian could have a Classic contender on his hands in Eydon. (John Walton/PA)

He said: “Obviously, we’ve got the likes of Native Trail and some very good horses to face up to, but you don’t become the best unless you race against them and the Prince has never been shy, he likes to race them at the top table if they are good enough.

“He’s 25-1 for the Guineas and I wonder if he was by Frankel out of an Olden Times mare he would be shorter in the betting, but he’s by Olden Times out of a Frankel mare so he’s 25s.

“He won the Feilden very nicely and he could be anything, but we’ve not ruled anything out and he was put in the Dante and all the right races in both England and France.”

Perfect Power will go for 2000 Guineas gold

Richard Fahey has confirmed his impressive Greenham Stakes winner Perfect Power will head to the Qipco 2000 Guineas at Newmarket on April 30.

A dual Group One winner as a juvenile over six furlongs, in a season in which he also won the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot, he proved he stayed seven furlongs at Newbury on Saturday.

He will be stepping up to a mile in the Classic, but Fahey and connections feel they have nothing to lose.

“He’s come out of Newbury remarkably well. He had a light canter this morning and just in himself he’s bouncing. He’s tightened up,” Fahey told www.sportinglife.com.

“I did feel there was improvement in him going into the Greenham. The last thing I wanted to do was have him 100%. It was a trial and I used it as a trial to see if there was a possibility of having a crack at the Guineas.

“It’s just put him right. His demeanour is right, he came off the gallop having a jig-jog and a squeal which is where you want these racehorses to be. You want them to be happy and at the moment he’s in a good place.

“As a trainer, when you have a dual Group One winning two-year-old the question is have they trained on? That was the big question for me – is he just a wonder two-year-old or is he going to mature into a better horse and I think it was one of his best performances – if not his best – at Newbury, knowing in the back of my mind it would put him right.

“It put him spot on for the Guineas. We can keep him ticking over and one blow-out and we’re there. We’re going to have a go at the Guineas. I’ve spoken to the team, I’ve spoken to Sheikh Rashid (Dalmook al Maktoum, owner) and we’ve nothing to lose by having a go.”

He added: “He wasn’t stopping in the Greenham, he galloped all the way through the line and took some pulling up. I think he’ll be a better horse on Guineas day.

“I’m very excited about him. We know he handles the course, goes on any ground and is becoming a legend.”