Ghanaati Crowns Excellent Start to the Season for Hills
1st (5) Ghanaati 20/1
Five years ago, Barry Hills and Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum teamed up for stanjames.com 2000 Guineas glory with Haafhd and they returned to lift the stanjames.com 1000 Guineas trophy with Ghanaati to continue an outstanding start to the season for the veteran trainer, who recently celebrated his 3000th winner and his 300th success at Newmarket. Ridden by Hills’s son Richard, Ghanaati was sent off at 20/1 and returned triumphant by a length and a half from Irish raider Cuis Ghaire.
Barry Hills said: “I’ve always thought she was a very good filly and I think she’ll be much better over a mile and a quarter. How far she can stay I don’t know. She’s pretty special. Everything she’s done she’s done very easily and she’s got size and a good temperament.”
Ghanaati has been cut to around 5/1 for the Oaks following her Guineas victory but her participation at Epsom is not certain.
“She’s in the Oaks but I don’t know if she’ll run. I’ll have to talk to Sheikh Hamdan and Angus Gold,” added Hills. “ I really don’t know where she’ll go after this. As I said, I’m sure she’ll be better over a mile and a quarter. In the back of my mind, I can see her coming back here to win the Emirates Airline Champion Stakes.”
Asked about his run of success for far in 2009, Hills said: “First of all, for whatever reason, the weather can make such a difference. The weather’s been better in Lambourn this year. Sometimes you have to be in the right place at the right time.”
Sheikh Hamdan’s racing manager Angus Gold said: “Barry’s done a great job with her. She’s a beautifully bred filly and it’s very nice to see the ability to go with it. She only won a maiden last year but she was always going to improve this year as a three-year-old - she’s a great big filly. I always thought she would be a mile and a quarter filly and, if I’m honest, I didn’t necessarily think she’d have the speed to win a Guineas so this is a bonus. Whether she’ll get a mile and a half, I don’t know. All options are open and certainly she’s shown enough speed to win one Guineas and we’ll have to think about the Irish Guineas and perhaps the Coronation (Stakes at Royal Ascot).
Owner Sheikh Hamdan offered the opinion that Ghanaati would not stay a mile and a half and added: “She is very good at a mile - she beat good fillies, a good field. She could go to Ireland or to France or maybe she will go for the Coronation Stakes (at Royal Ascot).”
Winning jockey Richard Hills said: “She had taken a while to come to herself last year and Dad gave her plenty of time. He was very patient with her then she won well at Kempton. We went quietly with her and gave her a prep gallop here at the Craven meeting and waited for the Guineas. From four out I was very confident today and thought it was going to take a good one to come and get me.
“Dad went through a tough period last year which he is over now. He’s stuck his head down and got on with it and things have gone in a good direction this year. It makes me very proud to win a Classic for him today - it’s special to have won the colts’ race with Haafhd for him and to now do it with a filly. The first thing he said to me just now was ‘I told you so’ - I think he got a bit of the 33s last week!”
BOLGER PLEASED - SLEUTH WOULD HAVE PREFERRED SOME EASE
Jim Bolger declared himself “very happy” with the performance of Cuis Ghaire, the length and a half runner-up in the stanjames.com 1000 Guineas and now has his eyes set on the Irish 1,000 Guineas for the Galileo filly.
The trainer said of the 12/1 shot: “I am very happy. If you have to be second, this is the best place to do it.
“We are expecting her to come on for this. The ground has been soft in Ireland and it was hard to get a final gallop into her.
“The winner is smart, so I am very pleased. The Irish 1,000 Guineas at the Curragh is where she is likely to go next. We will be staying at a mile with her.
“Gan Amhras (third in yesterday’s stanjames.com 2000 Guineas) is in great form and ate up fine.”
A further length and a quarter back in third was 33/1 chance Super Sleuth and her trainer Brian Meehan said: “I think if we had had some rain we might have won two Classics (Meehan also saddled Delegator to finish second in yesterday’s stanjames.com 2000 Guineas).
“She would have preferred a little more ease. She ran well in her trial and had been working very well since. We will now look at going for an Oaks with her. My first thought would be the Prix de Diane.
“Delegator came back in good shape. He was fine this morning and went for a walk. It was a very mixed day for his owner (Poilin Good) yesterday, so we will talk later in the week. My first thought for him is to go to Royal Ascot rather than the Curragh.”
Aspen Darlin has been taken to Newmarket Equine Hospital with a tendon injury. She walked on to the horsebox.
PLACED JOCKEYS’ REACTION AFTER THE stanjames.com 1000 GUINEAS
Kevin Manning finished second on Cuis Ghaire for trainer Jim Bolger who had the third in yesterday’s stanjames.com 2000 Guineas also.
The jockey said: “The winner was more or less beside us from the flag fall, my filly gave a bit in the dip fitness-wise but she will improve plenty.
“The ground was no problem and I’m very happy she will improve again.”
Martin Dwyer was on third-placed Super Sleuth for trainer Brian Meehan.
Dwyer commented: “My filly ran a cracker she wasn’t in love with the firm ground but she was very tough and honest and she will improve with a bit more distance.”
Johnny Murtagh came home fourth on the Aidan O’Brien-trained Heart Shaped.
He said: “She ran very well, I thought I was going to be third until the last 100m yards but then she got a bit tired.”
BEATEN FAVOURITE LIKELY TO BE AIMED AT THE OAKS
TRAINER & JOCKEY BLAME THE GROUND FOR HER DEFEAT
Rainbow View, the 8/11 favourite for the stanjames.com 2000 Guineas, could only finish fifth in the mile fillies’ Classic.
Her rider Jimmy Fortune reported: “The ground was too firm for her. She would not let herself down on it.”
He also told trainer John Gosden and owner George Strawbridge that Rainbow View was beaten by half-way.
Gosden is now keen to run the filly, beaten for the first time today, in the Oaks at Epsom Downs on June 5 over half a mile further.
The Newmarket trainer said: “Rainbow View has trained on all right. She hated the ground - it was nobody’s fault. We have had an incredibly dry spell and it was just good to firm yesterday and we were forecast rain last night but it did not materialise yet again.
”Jimmy said he knew he was in trouble after three or four furlongs. She was hopping off the ground and changing legs. Her action got higher and higher. For the last little bit, which is uphill, she ran on a bit - it was more a question of then just finishing on her class.
“She has never run on ground as firm as that. She had won on genuine good to firm ground but this was considerably faster. That is the way it is - there is nothing you can do about the ground.
“We will consider the Irish Guineas and the Oaks at Epsom - looking for some good ground for her. I think you will then see her right back at her best.
“We will probably take her to the Oaks. I don’t think there will be a problem staying a mile and a half. She is by Dynaformer and the mother has produced a filly that stayed already. So I don’t think the distance is an issue.
“The ground will be suitable at Epsom so we will just train her for the Oaks. “
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