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Parrado in good shape for informative-looking Greenham

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.

Chindit (left) winning the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster
Chindit (left) winning the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“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).”

Alkumait is one of two runners for the late Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum
Alkumait is one of two runners for the late Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum (Dan Abraham/PA)

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.”

Fundamental in winning action at Chelmsford
Fundamental in winning action at Chelmsford (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

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.”

Chindit tops Greenham contenders

Ante-post favourite Chindit is one of 12 colts declared for the Watership Down Stud Too Darn Hot Greenham Stakes at Newbury.

Richard Hannon’s charge was hugely impressive in winning his first three starts as a juvenile – completing his hat-trick with a Group Two victory in the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster.

However, the son of Wootton Bassett returns to action on a recovery mission on Sunday, having failed to fire when last seen contesting the Dewhurst at Newmarket in October.

Marcus Tregoning’s Alkumait is in a similar situation, with the Mill Reef Stakes winner making his first appearance since finishing last of 14 in the Dewhurst.

Also prominent in the betting is the Clive Cox-trained Nando Parrado, who was a shock 150-1 winner of the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot last summer, before going on to finish second in back-to-back Group Ones in France.

Mehmento is a fascinating contender for trainer Archie Watson, jockey Hollie Doyle and owners Hambleton Racing.

The Mehmas colt faces a big rise in class, but could hardly have been more impressive in winning twice on the all-weather at Southwell.

Cosmo Charlton, Hambleton’s head racing manager, said: “He’s done nothing wrong, dotting up twice at Southwell.

“On the second occasion, he actually recorded one of the quickest times ever at Southwell – I think the final two furlongs were in the top 10 in Southwell history, and obviously there has been some good older horses that have won there over the years.

“He’s done that hard on the bridle as well, so he’s a horse with immense potential.

“He’s a grinder who gets down to work – and when you give him the office he really picks up.

“It’s hard to know how good he is until he’s given a proper test. Going from Southwell to the Greenham is probably not the normal path – but he’s in great form, and it’s certainly worth a shout, given how impressive he’s been.”

David Menuisier pitches new recruit Xaario into the race, with the ex-French colt boasting some smart bits of form having been beaten two lengths by subsequent Group One scorer Sealiway on his debut before hacking up by six lengths next time.

He disappointed on his final start for Pia and Joakim Brandt, but Xaario had a valid excuse.

Menuisier said: “He did something to his back on heavy ground at ParisLongchamp in October and had to have surgery.

“His previous form had looked quite good in winning by six lengths and finishing behind Sealiway, so it will be interesting to see how he gets on in the Greenham.

“If he were to run well on Sunday and go for a Guineas, I think he would be more likely to go to France than Newmarket as racing round a bend would probably suit him better.”

Fillies with Classic aspirations get their chance to shine in the preceding Dubai Duty Free Stakes – better known as the Fred Darling.

The standard is set by Andrew Balding’s Alcohol Free, who rounded off her two-year-old campaign with a Group One success in the Cheveley Park Stakes.

Also featuring in a field of 17 are Cox’s Isabella Giles, Hannon’s Happy Romance, the Karl Burke-trained Dandalla and the unbeaten Lucid Dreamer from Roger Charlton’s yard.

The first of three Group races on the card is the Dubai Duty Free Finest Surprise Stakes – registered as the John Porter.

Jim Goldie’s stable stalwart Euchen Glen heads a nine-strong line-up, with the William Haggas-trained Al Aasy the likely market leader.

Other hopefuls include Tyson Fury and Outbox, who has won his last two starts for the Hambleton Racing team.

“He won well at Doncaster last time under a great ride from Hollie Doyle and he was a good winner of a handicap before that as well,” said Cosmo Charlton.

“He’s got a fantastic pedigree and hopefully he could run a good race for us.”

Alkumait seeking Greenham gold

Mill Reef winner Alkumait will reappear back at Newbury on Sunday in the Watership Down Stud Too Darn Hot Greenham Stakes.

In the absence of the retired Mohaather, the three-year-old carries Marcus Tregoning’s main hopes for the forthcoming season.

Having failed to handle soft ground in the Dewhurst when last seen, Tregoning is looking forward to getting him back on a quicker surface.

“I’m very pleased with Alkumait, he’s wintered well and seems in good form at home,” said Tregoning.

“Having won the Mill Reef in September, I’m looking forward to returning to Newbury with him.

“The ground really didn’t suit him last time out (in the Dewhurst) and I think he’s a proper top of the ground horse.

“Condition-wise, he’s in the same position as we were with Mohaather when he won the race in 2019. Mohaather was a six-furlong horse dressed up as a miler, and his speed helped him win some very good mile races. Alkumait would be similar – he’s very speedy and we’re looking forward to finding out more about him.”

Richard Hannon has a major player in Chindit, who had been among the favourites for the Craven Stakes at Newmarket on Thursday.

“Chindit is going for the Greenham, that’s certainly the plan at the moment,” said Hannon.

Also among the 16 entries are Clive Cox’s Coventry Stakes winner Nando Parrado, The Lir Jet and Richard Fahey’s Rhythm Master.