Qipco 2,000 Guineas: Frankel set for first big test
by Handicappers (email@example.com) / Globeform (http://www.globeform.com)
Last update: 2011-05-02 06:44:37 (First published: 2011-04-23 08:42:38 )
He may be facing a relatively small field, but Frankel's first bid for classic glory is still going to be his biggest test to date. Casamento has been confirmed, as yet another Group One winner to challenge the Cecil star, alongside Pathfork and Roderic O'Connor.
QIPCO 2,000 GUINEAS (G1)
Newmarket 30 April 2011 – 1 mile Turf
Runners presented with Globeform, sire, trainer,
jockey. Globeform ratings are expressed in pounds.
One length equals 2lb over this distance
126p - FRANKEL (Galileo) H Cecil / T Queally
116p - PATHFORK (Distorted Humor) Mrs J Harrington / F Berry
116p - CASAMENTO (Shamardal) M Al Zarooni / L Dettori
114p - RODERIC O'CONNOR (Galileo) A O'Brien / R Moore
113p - SAAMIDD (Street Cry) S bin Suroor / M Barzalona
111p - NATIVE KHAN (Azamour) E Dunlop / O Peslier
110p - FURY (Invincible Spirit) W Haggas / J Murtagh
109 - BROOX (Xaar) E O'Neill / W Buick
107p - REROUTED (Stormy Atlantic) B Hills / Hills
106p - HAPPY TODAY (Gone West) B Meehan / M Dwyer
102p - LOVING SPIRIT (Azamour) J Toller / R Havlin
101 - DUBAWI GOLD (Dubawi) R Hannon / R Hughes
..93 - SLIM SHADEY (Val Royal) J Moore / L Keniry
A: 4 FRANKEL
B: 9 PATHFORK, 12 SAAMIDD
C: 2 CASAMENTO, 8 NATIVE KHAN, 11 RODERIC O'CONNOR
FRANKEL, a brilliant juvenile champion who won all of his races in great style last year, is a heavy favourite for this classic, following an easy win in the Greenham Stakes (G3) at Newbury on his reappearance. With five wins from as many starts, Frankel may be one of the best colts seen for some time in Europe and he will not be easy to beat. He was pulling a bit early on at Newbury, where his employed pacemaker was unable to go quickly enough, but he was visually impressive in his effortless 4-length win over Excelebration.
A son of dual Derby winner Galileo, Frankel is out of a sprinting mare, and he showed plenty of speed in his first season. His best performance came when he slammed Klammer by 10 lengths in the Royal Lodge Stakes (G2) over a mile at Ascot in September. Frankel had won a maiden at Newmarket (beating Nathaniel and Genius Beast) and a conditions race at Doncaster on his previous starts, and he absolutely hacked up at Ascot, beating Klammer out of sight. Klammer went on to win the Horris Hill Stakes (G3) on his next outing. In mid-October, Frankel was ready for his first Group One race, the prestigious Dewhurst Stakes (G1) over a straight 7 furlongs at Newmarket's Rowley Mile course – the venue for the Guineas. His main rival based on previous form, Dream Ahead, ran well below his best and that took some of the gloss off of Frankel's performance. He was pulling early in the race, and never really settled, but when Queally let him loose it was soon all over. Frankel quickened up to win the Dewhurst by 2 ¼ lengths from the Irish trained 25-1 shot Roderic O'Connor, with another Irish colt, Glor Na Mara (33-1) in third. It seemed that he had beaten rather ordinary rivals on the day but Roderic O'Connor gave the form a nice boost when winning the Criterium International (G1) at Saint-Cloud two weeks later.
Frankel may also be a contender for the Investec Derby (G1) at Epsom in June, and he holds an entry for the Dante Stakes (G2) at York in May – normally the strongest Derby prep in England. Will he stay the Derby distance? It is not impossible. His half-brother Bullet Train won the Lingfield Derby Trial (G3) last year (admitteldly a weak edition), and it is also interesting to note that last year's Irish Derby winner, Cape Blanco, is also a son of Galileo out of a sprinting dam. Frankel's dam, Kind, has a stout pedigree and on breeding there is no reason Frankel won't stay 1 ½ miles. His running style, on the other hand, says he is unlikely to appreciate such a test of stamina. The mile trip of the 2,000 Guineas is probably ideal.
PATHFORK beat the subsequent G1 winner Casamento by a head when taking the 7-furlong Vincent O'Brien National Stakes (G1) at the Curragh last September. It was his third win from as many starts as a juvenile and this son of Distorted Humor was at one stage considered for a crack at the Kentucky Derby (G1). He stays closer to home in the early part of the season, however, and looks likely to go off second favourite in the 2,000 Guineas. Pathfork was prominent throughout in the National Stakes, where he kicked on to take the lead two furlongs out. Casamento, making only his second start, closed in on him at the finish and Pathfork was all out to hold on by a head. They were 5 lengths clear of the third placed Zoffany – who was coming off a win in the Phoenix Stakes (G1). This was a solid performance by Pathfork but he may not have cared much for the softish ground on National day. His previous win, in the Futurity Stakes (G2) at The Curragh, was visually more impressive. Racing on good to firm ground, he was always travelling much the best that day, and won easily by 1 ½ lengths from Glor Na Mara. Pathfork's was the best juvenile form seen in Ireland in 2010 and he is likely to go at three. He comes from a very good family that has produced smart performers mainly at up to a mile – though Pathfork seems likely to stay 1 ¼ miles in due course. His dam, the Sadler's Wells daughter Vision Of Clarity, won over a mile in France and is closely related to the top class miler Spinning World.
CASAMENTO was quick to make his presence felt at the top level. He almost got up to beat the more experienced Pathfork when staying on strongly in the Vincent O'Brien National Stakes (G1) over 7 furlongs at The Curragh in September. He came to the prestigious 7-furlong event off just one run, having won his maiden at Tipparary in late August, and Casamento produced an unusually high rating for one with so little experience in the National. He went on to prove that it was no fluke, winning the Beresford Stakes (G2) by 4 lengths from Mawaakef on his next start, and moving up yet again to take the well-contested Racing Post Trophy (G1) at Doncaster in England in October. Ridden by Frankie Dettori, Casamento was favourite for the one-mile Racing Post, and he obliged by ¾ length from Seville, who was 2 lengths in front of Master Of Hounds. All three represented Ireland, while Native Khan did best for the home team in fourth place, ahead of yet another smart Irish raider; Dunboyne Express. Casamento was ridden up with the pace and sent to the lead with over two furlongs to run. He responded well to pressure, and was a worthy winner. Having joined Godolphin's trainer Mahmoud Al Zarooni from Mike Halford, Casamento has been among the favourites in the Derby betting this winter. His sire, Shamardal, completed a classic double winning the Poule d'Essai des Poulains (G1) and Prix du Jockey-Club (G1) over 10.5 furlongs at Chantilly. Casamento's dam, Wedding Gift, was fifth in the Prix de Diane (G1) at Chantilly, also over 10.5 furlongs, but this family has been mainly about milers and it is doubtful that Casamento will stay the 12-furlong Derby trip. Perhaps he will end up at Chantilly too this summer.
RODERIC O'CONNOR, representing the powerful Ballydoyle team, 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 ¾ lengths in front of Glor Na Mara. Frankel proved 2 ¼ lengths too good. Two weeks later, Roderic O'Connor lined up in the ten-runner Criterium International, 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 ½ 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.
SAAMIDD disappointed in last year's Dewhurst Stakes (G1), when he got very worked up in the preliminaries and ran no sort of a race to finish last, a long way behind Frankel. However, it is safe to assume that we can draw a line through this performance. Saamidd is much better than that showing. He had done everything right on his two previous starts, cantering home in a maiden at Newbury and impressing once more in the Champagne Stakes (G2) over 7 furlongs at Doncaster – where he quickened away in great style to beat the Gimcrack Stakes (G2) winner Approve by 2 ¼ lengths. Approve carried a penalty but Saamidd would have beaten him even if the weights had been the other way round. He was clearly the best and looked a Group One winner in the making. His first attempt at the highest level ended in a flop, as most things went wrong for him in the Dewhurst. He was also hampered at the start of the contest, and soon a beaten horse. Saamidd can make amends this term, and he holds place prospect in the 2,000 Guineas. A son of Street Cry out of the Galileo mare Aryaamm, he is bred to stay further than a mile and could turn out to be a Derby horse. His dam was bred for a mile and a half and she won over a mile and a quarter.
NATIVE KHAN faced nothing of any real consequence when prepping for the Guineas in the Craven Stakes (G3) over this course and distance in April, and he won readily as the warm 4/6 favourite. He was also a bit too warm himself, having been edgy and sweating in the preliminaries. The outing was probably needed to take the edge off him ahead of his classic assignment. Trainer Ed Dunlop decided to run him in the trial “because the colt came to hand earlier than expected”. Native Khan, a big fine sort, won the Craven by 2 lengths from Libranno (who was conceding 3lb). Last year, he impressed by winning on his debut at Newmarket's July course, and when landing the Solario Stakes (G3) at Sandown Park, where he beat Measuring Time by half a length over 7 furlongs. Measuring Time was second in the Classic Trial (G3) at Sandown last Sunday. Native Khan was stepped up in class after his Sandown win, and he shaped well in the Racing Post Trophy (G1) at Doncaster in October. The ground was too soft for him but he checked in fourth behind Casamento, Seville and Master Of Hounds – beaten 3 ½ lengths by the winner. Native Khan has shown us that he has trained on, he stays the mile well, he prefers firm ground and he will be a popular horse for exacta and each-way backers on Saturday.
FURY is a fascinating longshot in this Guineas field. The roan son of Invincible Spirit, trained in Newmarket by William Haggas, won his two races as a juvenile – both over 7 furlongs. He should be open to considerable improvement and Fury already has good form in the book. After winning in maiden company at Newbury on his debut (on good ground), he moved markedly forward on his next outing, to win the valuable Tattersalls Millions over the same distance at Newmarket (soft ground). Fury beat the dual winner Pisco Sour by 1 ¾ length, though was value for more than the bare margin and looked an exciting prospect. He is half-brother to the 12-furlong winner Speed Dating and the mile winner Tryst, and the dam, Courting (Pursuit Of Love), won over 1 ¼ miles.
A: 4 FRANKEL to beat 9 PATHFORK
B: 4 FRANKEL to beat 12 SAAMIDD
EACH-WAY (Win & Show): Saamidd at 33-1 (generally)
'WITHOUT FRANKEL': Saamidd 16-1 (Ladbrokes)
1: 4 Frankel
2: 12 Saamidd
3: 5 Fury, 8 Native Khan, 9 Pathfork, 10 Casamento, 11 Roderic O'Connor
1: 4 Frankel
2: 5 Fury, 8 Native Khan, 9 Pathfork, 10 Casamento, 11 Roderic O'Connor
3: 12 Saamidd
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