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2000 Guineas: Roderic O'Connor in focus
by Geir Stabell / Globeform
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Newmarket Saturday: Who, if anyone, can put Frankel to the test in the Quipco 2000 Guineas (G1)?

As per usual, Aidan O'Brien's stable will be represented, and his Group One winner Roderic O'Connor looks an interesting contender.

This colt progressed well through his two-year-old campaign and his last two of four starts put him right up with the best of his generation. He ran second to Frankel in the Dewhurst Stakes (G1) over 7 furlongs at Newmarket, before winning the Criterium International (G1) over a mile at Saint-Cloud. Prior to these performances, Roderic O'Connor had beaten Master Of Hounds in a Curragh maiden. At Newmarket, he was sent straight to the lead and stretched out well inside the last quarter, though had no answer to Fankel's late burst of speed. Roderic O'Connor kept on gamely and was a clear second, 2 lengths in front of Glor Na Mara. Frankel proved 2 lengths too good.

Two weeks later, Roderic O'Connor lined up in the ten-runner Criterium International (G1), contested on soft ground. He was once more ridden for stamina and sent into the lead early in the straight. Johnny Murtagh kept him up to his work and, despite drifting sharply to his right at the finish, he proved much the best. He won by 1 lengths from Salto, with Maiguri 5 lengths further adrift in third and the English G3 winner Rerouted fourth. Salto had won well at Maisons-Laffitte on his previous start, but his first run this year was somewhat disappointing (6th to Glaswegian in the G3 Prix de Fontainebleau). Maiguri had been second, 3 lengths behind Wootton Bassett, in the Prix Jean Luc Lagardere (G1) on his previous start.

Roderic O'Connor's form is solid and perhaps he is the second best horse in this Guineas, but is his running style ideal? If he needs a test of stamina, he may well be assisting Frankel as much as himself on Saturday. Like Frankel, Roderic O'Connor is a son of Galileo out of a Danehill mare. Racing over further than a mile is likely to suit him best this year.

Published: 2011-04-25 07:03:29

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