Qipco 2000 Guineas
|Group 1, Newmarket
1m, Class 1
|Saturday 2nd May 2015|
Belardo as short as 14/1 for next year's QIPCO 2000 Guineas after winning Dewhurst
Richard Pankhurst enters the frame for 2015 Classic success
Nov 05 Royal Ascot and Breeders' Cup hero Hootenanny appears increasingly likely to bid for Classic glory in the Qipco 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.
Having shown speed to burn over the minimum distance when successful in the Windsor Castle Stakes in June, many questioned whether the juvenile's stamina would last out over the two-turn mile at Santa Anita on October 31.
However, Wesley Ward's juvenile silenced any doubters with a battling victory over stable companion Luck Of The Kitten in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf, providing the trainer with his first ever Breeders' Cup winner.
Hootenanny carries the colours of the Coolmore triumvirate of Derrick Smith, John Magnier and Michael Tabor and the owners have given Ward the green light to prepare the colt for the trip to Newmarket next spring.
Ward said: "It was a great run from the horse and it's that man Frankie Dettori again. He did a great job.
"I spoke to the Coolmore boys last night and we're going to go for the Guineas in Newmarket and I think I'll run him first in the Transylvania Stakes at Keeneland, which I think is on the first Friday in April.
"Then we'll take him to Newmarket and see what we can do.
"With No Nay Never retiring, this boy has big shoes to fill."
A 10-1 shot after finishing only fourth behind the reopposing favourite Estidhkaar in the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster, he was fitted with a hood for the first time by trainer Roger Varian and tracked the speed in the hands of Andrea Atzeni.
Belardo moved noticeably well heading towards the last of seven furlongs, and though it briefly seemed he was caught in a pocket, he eventually got the gap he required and quickened up smartly to seal a comprehensive victory by two lengths.
Kodi Bear filled the runner-up spot, finishing clear of Smuggler's Cove in third, with Estidhkaar ultimately disappointing in fourth.
Atzeni said: "We've always liked him a lot. He was a little bit disappointing at Doncaster, maybe the ground was too quick. He settled a lot better than last time so that (a hood) probably helped."
Varian added: "He's a super horse and we are so delighted for him and the owner.
"I probably had him too fresh at Doncaster and he raced too fresh - he was too keen and too exuberant. They've gone a better gallop today and he switched off."
Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum's exciting prospect Faydhan suffered a setback and was ruled out for the rest of the season.
The son of War Front was in contention for several of the top two-year-old races this term after he impressively defeated Acomb Stakes winner Dutch Connection by six lengths on his debut at Haydock on July 3.
That victory took him towards the top of the ante-post market for the Qipco 2000 Guineas, but the John Gosden-trained colt sustained a leg injury that put all plans on hold.
"He definitely won't run again this season. We've just run out of time with him so that will be it." said Sheikh Hamdan's racing manager Angus Gold.
The John Gosden-trained two-year-old bolted up to see off Toscanini and 15/8 favourite Dick Whittington on the final day of the meeting and in doing so announce his leading claims for the Newmarket Classic.
It was an impressive maiden victory following a debut defeat at HQ where the son of Raven’s Pass tailed off in fourth place having been sent off as the market leader.
But with that run under his belt and the step up in trip to 7f doing the trick, a potential assault on the Rowley Mile is in store for a horse bred and owned by Gosden’s wife, Rachel Hood.
And such was the turn of foot displayed by Richard Pankhurst there is genuine excitement about his 2000 Guineas chances after a comfortable success in the hands of William Buick.
New Approach colt Parish Boy (Jim Bolger/Kevin Manning) came from last to first when the half-length winner of the Listed thetote.com Eyrefield Stakes (9f) at Leopardstown October 26 and is seen as a Guineas prospect by his trainer.