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
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 has suffered a setback that could rule him 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 last week's 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 has sustained a leg injury that has put all plans on hold.
"He's had a little setback. We're going to struggle to get him back on the track this year," 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.
However, with regards to his possible assignments for the remainder of the current campaign, Gosden has already outlined his plans.