1st 5 Henrythenavigator 11/1
Trainer Aidan O’Brien landed his fifth stanjamesuk.com 2000 Guineas when winning the 200th running of the Classic after Henrythenavigator battled to beat the 11/8 favourite New Approach by a nose.
New Approach - trained by O’Brien’s former employer Jim Bolger - made virtually all the running but just lost out as the winner, partnered by Johnny Murtagh, hit the front inside the final furlong.
“It was a masterful ride from Johnny, who waited and played the horse to all his strengths. He was very confident and super strong,” said O’Brien. “Henrythenavigator has always been an exceptional work horse at home and the times he got beat last year it was real winter ground - he’s a proper fast ground horse.
“I was worried beforehand because mine have been needing a run this season and we thought he would come on from this, he was only just ready to come racing today.
“Last season we pulled back off him and a lot of the others when we had real National Hunt ground in Ireland and let them be so we wouldn’t damage them.”
Henrythenavigator and New Approach share favouritism at 2/1 with Cashmans and 7/4 with Boylesports for the Irish 2,000 Guineas and O’Brien added: “When you have a horse like him that shows so much speed you are never sure if he is a miler. Speed is his big thing and I think we will keep him to a mile. Today was his first test over a mile on fast ground so I’m delighted.”
Murtagh added: “When I saw the furlong marker I knew I had enough time to get there, I was just hoping I was good enough and fortunately he was but the second kept battling back at me and they are two very high-class horses.
“Mine is a very good horse with a decent turn of foot and this is a great start to my new job - I’m a very lucky person.
“Aidan told me to drop him in and the race rode pretty well, I was just travelling in between horses. He is a horse with loads of pace, after all he won the Coventry as two-year-old last year.”
The victory was the first by a nose, a new distance introduced last year, in a British Classic.
NEW APPROACH STILL ON COURSE FOR IRISH GUINEAS WHILE RAVEN’S PASS WILL STICK TO SPRINTING
Trainer Jim Bolger was gracious in defeat as he saw New Approach beaten for the first time. He confirmed that the 11/8 favourite, who went down by a nose, i still on courese for the Irish 2,000 Guineas.
He said: “I’m pleased with the way he travelled and he was coming back at the winner at the end. They are two very good horses. Obviously, it would have been nice to have won but I’m still happy.”
David Elsworth said of his 100/1 shot Stubbs Art, who finished third: “we are disappointed we didn’t win. Everyobne can read the formbook bu this horse had a great chance.
“He’s lost a hind plate but I don’t know whether that’s relevant. Part of us is pleased but part of us is frustrated as well.”
John Gosden said that the fourth Raven’s Pass will drop back in trip.
The trainer remarked: “He ran great. They raced across on the stands’ rail as we thought they might. He’s come from last and run a very good race.
“I would definitely question his stamina in the last half furlong and the plan is to go to the Jersey Stakes (seven furlongs Royal Ascot) and then run him in the Darley July Cup (Newmarket).
“He wants to go faster than they’re going. Seven furlongs is no problem and the stiff six of the July Cup will suit him.”
More quotes - the stanjamesuk.com 2000 Guineas
Jimmy Fortune, on board the fourth Raven’s Pass, said “ He ran well and tried hard.”
Martin Dwyer, on the fifth Dream Eater, declared: “I was very happy with that. It would have been better if he had had a prep race. He will come on for the run. It was a very good race. I thought he was going to be third but he will be good fun this summer.”
Richard Quinn, rider of the sixth Moynahan, declared: “He has run well. He is an inexperienced horse and got himself a bit unbalanced coming down into the dip but he has met the rising ground and lengthened.”
Steve Drowne, on the seventh Stimulation, said: “He ran well - it was an awkward race as they all tracked over to the stands’ side. I went to pick him up but he came up a bit flat.”
Mick Kinane, who partnered the Aidan O’Brien second string Plan, finished eighth. He commented: “He has run all right. He is a bit inexperienced but he is horse who will improve a nice bit.”
Frankie Dettori, who partnered the tenth Ibn Khaldun, commented: “He ran very flat and was beaten three and a half furlongs out.”
Richard Hughes, who partnered the Scintillo, said afterwards: “ He ran his race and ran well.”
Richard Hills on 13th placed Alfathaa said: “He ran well, I thought he might finish a bit better, but there are no complaints.
Fireside’s jockey Alan Munro reflected on coming last of 15: “That was not his running. He ran a bit to free early on and then stopped. We are going to have him looked at to see if there is a problem.”
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