Balding Pair On Course for Guineas Festival
Trainer Andrew Balding is weighing up a possible double Classic raid at Newmarket next weekend with recent Listed scorer Lord Zenith aiming for glory in the StanJames.com 2000 Guineas on Saturday, 1st May, and progressive filly Pipette being considered for the StanJames.com 1000 Guineas the following day.
Both horses have made impressive starts to their three-year-old campaigns with Lord Zenith relishing the step up to a mile to land a Listed contest on Polytrack at Lingfield Park on 10th April.
The son of Zamindar, one of 27 colts remaining in the £400,000 contest, posted a six-length maiden victory at Salisbury in June and was denied a clear run when coming home fifth in the Group Two Meydan Superlative Stakes at Newmarket’s July Festival.
Pipette, who is among 30 fillies going forward for the StanJames.com 1000 Guineas, also made a winning seasonal return on Polytrack, readily scoring in a mile conditions stakes at Kempton Park on 3rd April. In two juvenile appearances, the George Strawbridge home-bred made a winning debut at Salisbury in September before staying on strongly to take third in a Newbury Listed contest at the end of October.
Balding revealed: “Lord Zenith is a more than likely runner in the StanJames.com 2000 Guineas. He has come out of his Lingfield run well and we are very happy with him at the moment. He did well there considering that the track wouldn’t have been to his liking.
“We have always thought that he was a lovely horse and he ideally wants fast ground - hopefully he can run well at Newmarket.
“We have left Pipette in the StanJames 1000 Guineas but a lot will depend on the weather - she won’t take her chance if the ground is too fast. She also has the possibility of running in the Haveago@StanJames.com Pretty Polly Stakes and we will make a call nearer the time.
“She is a bit of a mixed bag regarding her breeding - being by Pivotal and out of a Sadler’s Wells mare - and she has always given the impression that she will get further than a mile in time.
“I was very pleased with her win at Kempton and there is no question that she is a nice filly.”
St Nicholas Abbey, a 13/8 chance with Stan James, currently heads the betting for the StanJames.com 2000 Guineas and the Aidan O’Brien colt, who stormed to victory in the Group One Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster in October, is one of four remaining entries from Ballydoyle along with Jumeirah Dewhurst Stakes runner-up Fencing Master, Fighting Brave and Viscount Nelson.
Also among the 27 acceptors is Elusive Pimpernel, who stormed to an impressive four-length victory in the Group Three Racing Post breezeupbonus.com Craven Stakes at Newmarket on 15th April.
Marcus Hosgood, racing secretary to trainer John Dunlop, reported: “Elusive Pimpernel has come out of his Newmarket run in good order and we have been pleased by his progress since.”
Also going forward in the StanJames.com 2000 Guineas are the Richard Hannon-trained pair of Dick Turpin and Canford Cliffs, first and second respectively in the Group Three Greenham Stakes at Newbury on 17th April.
Special Duty, trained by Criquette Head-Maarek and successful in last season’s Group One Electrolux Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket, is the current 7/2 favourite with Stan James for the StanJames.com 1000 Guineas and heads the 27 fillies going forward. Also among the 27 still engaged is fellow French raider Joanna, who had Special Duty back in third place when taking the Group Three Prix Imprudence at Maisons-Laffitte on 8th April.
Music Show has twice won on the Rowley Mile, having taken the Group Two Lotus Evora Rockfel Stakes on Champions’ Day in 2009 and then proving her well-being with a winning seasonal reappearance in the Group Three Leslie Harrison Memorial Nell Gwyn Stakes on 14th April.
The next confirmation stage for both the StanJames.com 2000 and the StanJames.com 1000 Guineas is on Monday, 26th April, when there is also a £30,000 supplementary entry stage.
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