Newmarket Guineas Meeting 2011 

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Craven Winner Native Khan Could Bypass 2000 Guineas

Native Khan, trained by Ed Dunlop was the first of the 2000 Guineas contenders to strut his stuff this season, when he took on a competitive looking field in the Group Three, Craven Stakes over the eight furlongs of the Rowley Mile course at Newmarket earlier this week.

Native Khan

Native Khan

Backed into 8/11 odds on favourite before the off, the 2010 Group Three Solario Stakes winner easily dealt with his rivals after running a little fresh for the first two furlongs or so. Ridden perfectly by Kieren Fallon, the grey moved up on the outside of the two early leaders, Libranno, trained by Richard Hannon and Yaseer the Marcus Tregoning entry with around three furlongs to go. He had settled nicely by this stage then following a couple of cracks of the whip moved unassailably into the lead before going away to win by 2 lengths in what has to be described as impressive first time out performances.

As always, the Bookmakers were quick to react, shortening him to 10/1 from around 16/1 for the 2000 Guineas, but it became clear soon after the race that his trainer was far from convinced that the 2000 Guineas was his best option for his next race.

There is no doubt that his reservation is based upon the well being of the 2000 Guineas favourite, Frankel who will be seen on Saturday in the Group Three, Greenham Stakes. A big run by Frankel will undoubtedly persuade, Dunlop (and probably a few other trainers) to skip the ‘Guineas’ and head elsewhere, with the French Guineas, being a very likely target for Native Khan. Dunlop also believes that he is shaped very much like a French Derby horse suggesting further that his immediate interests probably will lay over the English Channel.

Should Native Khan run at Newmarket, he will be without jockey, with Fallon sitting out a ten day ban, ruling him out of the Guineas meeting.

The win was Native Khan’s third in four career starts, with his only defeat coming in the Group One, Racing Post Trophy last season when he finished fourth, 3½ lengths behind the winner, Casamento, the current third favourite for the The Derby and who is also doubtful to run in the Guineas.

Of the other two placed horses in the Craven they will need to improve before consolidating themselves as Group class. Libranno showed form as a juvenile, winning at Group Two level, but each time he has been aimed at something more ambitious he has come up short. Yaseer is still very lightly raced and had been stepped up to take on the Craven, having won his maiden at the second time of asking as a two year old. His trainer will probably give him another crack at perhaps a listed race before making any longer term decision about his future intentions.

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