Thursday, April 29, 2010





A stellar field of 19 is set to line up in the first Classic of the season, the £400,000 2000 Guineas at Newmarket on Saturday, 1st May.

Aidan O’Brien is the joint most successful current trainer in the 2000 Guineas with five victories and has a great chance of adding a sixth success as he saddles the 6/4 favourite with Stan James, the unbeaten St Nicholas Abbey.

The Montjeu colt will be making his seasonal debut on Saturday and was last seen when enjoying a comprehensive three and three quarter length victory over Elusive Pimpernel in the Group One Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster in October.

Elusive Pimpernel franked that form in the best possible style when impressively taking the Group Three Racing Post Craven Stakes at Newmarket on 15th April for trainer John Dunlop. O’Brien is also set to be represented by Group One Jumeirah Dewhurst Stakes runner-up Fencing Master and Viscount Nelson.

No French-trained horse has prevailed in the 2000 Guineas since Pennekamp in 1995 but there is a live hope from across the Channel this year in Makfi, who is trained by Mikel Delzangles at Gouvieux, just to the north of Paris. The son of Dubawi is unbeaten in two starts and made a winning seasonal return in the seven-furlong Group Three Prix Djebel at Maisons-Laffitte on 8th April. Stan James make him a 40/1 chance. The horse started out in Britain and was originally trained by Marcus Tregoning but was sold for 26,000 guineas at Tattersalls in October, 2009.

Delzangles reported today: “Makfi is well and he will travel over to Britain on Friday morning. He has really improved since his win in the Prix Djebel and it was a very good comeback run - he definitely wasn’t 100 per cent on that occasion.

“I don’t think that he will have a problem with the step up to a mile as he is a very handy horse. He has only run on soft ground, so I have no concerns if there is any rain, but I can’t see that he would have an issue with a faster surface either.”

David Elsworth has enjoyed many high-level victories over the years, both on the Flat and over jumps, and of course will be forever be remembered as the trainer of Desert Orchid. The one thing missing from his long CV is a Classic winner, although he has come close to 2000 Guineas success in the past, with Norse Dancer (2003) and Stubbs Art (2008) both finishing third. This year Elsworth, who is based locally to the course at Egerton House Stables, is represented by Fair Trade who, having finished a promising second in a maiden on the Rowley Mile in the autumn, made a triumphant return to action in a mile maiden at Newbury on 17th April. He is a 50/1 hope with Stan James.

Elsworth said this morning: “He has been fine since his Newbury win. I think his credentials are similar to Inler - our colt hasn’t had the same glowing reports as him but they both have a similar profile, having won their maidens well.

“He gets the mile and goes into the race in good form. He has only run twice and has a bit to find on the ratings, although it will no doubt have to alter after he wins on Saturday!”

Other trainers chasing their first taste of Classic success include John Best who saddles Inler, an impressive winner on his sole start on the Rowley Mile back in October, and Elspeth’s Boy, while Clive Cox runs last season’s Jumeirah Dewhurst Stakes third Xtension. Audacity Of Hope hails from the small Newmarket stable of Charlie McBride and finished fourth to the Barry Hills-trained Red Jazz in the Listed European Free Handicap at Newmarket on 14th April.

Mister Baileys took the 1994 2000 Guineas for Mark Johnston and this year the Yorkshire-based trainer runs the undefeated Awzaan, who already boasts Group One-winning form on the Rowley Mile, having taken the Shadwell Middle Park Stakes over six furlongs in October. Johnston also runs Greyfriarschorista.

A trainer with a great 2000 Guineas record is Richard Hannon, who scored with Mon Fils (1973), Don’t Forget Me (1987) and Tirol (1990). He has two representatives in 2010, Canford Cliffs, winner of the Group Two Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot in 2009, and Dick Turpin, who got the better of his stable companion when the duo filled the first two positions in the Group Three Greenham Stakes at Newbury on April 17.

The Maktoum family’s Godolphin operation run the Saeed bin Suroor-trained Al Zir, third to St Nicholas Abbey in the Racing Post Trophy, and Jumeirah Dewhurst Stakes fifth Buzzword, who will be a first British Classic runner for Mahmood Al Zarooni.

Pat Eddery won the 2000 Guineas three times as a jockey and saddles his first Classic runner as a trainer in Hearts Of Fire, who ended last season with a Group One victory in the Gran Criterium at San Siro in Italy.

Completing the field is the Andrew Balding-trained Lord Zenith who took the Listed International Trial Stakes at Lingfield on 10th April.

Latest Stan James prices:

St Nicholas Abbey 6/4

Elusive Pimpernel 5/1

Canford Cliffs 7/1

Awzaan 8/1

Fencing Master 12/1

Al Zir 14/1

Inler 16/1

Xtension 18/1

Dick Turpin 20/1

Hearts Of Fire 28/1

Makfi 40/1

Viscount Nelson 40/1

Fair Trade 50/1

Buzzword 100/1

Elspeth's Boy 100/1

Lord Zenith 100/1

Red Jazz 100/1

Greyfriarschorista 125/1

Audacity Of Hope 150/1

For further information, please contact:

Michael Prosser, Clerk of the Course and Director of Racing, 07802 844 578

Tony Rushmer, Racing PR Manager, 07702 579 382

Charlie McCann, Head of PR, Stan James, 07803 295 931




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