/ Racing

Draw stalls John Gosden's confidence in Kingman

Updated: Friday, 02 May 2014 21:23 | Comments

Trainer John Gosden saddles the favourite in the 2000 Guineas
Trainer John Gosden saddles the favourite in the 2000 Guineas

John Gosden is concerned an unfavourable draw could be detrimental to Kingman's chances in what promises to be an enthralling renewal of the Qipco 2000 Guineas at Newmarket on Saturday.

With fears about the Rowley Mile turf being too lively for the unbeaten colt having been allayed by extensive watering and recent rain, Gosden's main worry now is whether his charge will be able to get himself into a good position in the early part of the Classic.

Kingman will break from stall one, with market rivals Australia and Toormore further across the track in stalls 10 and 14 respectively.

Gosden said: "His draw in stall one is not a help.

"I would have preferred to be drawn in the middle or higher.

"Raven's Pass (who finished fourth in 2008) was also badly drawn and never got cover so we will just have to see how it pans out."

The Invincible Spirit colt is inevitably being compared with Frankel, who carried the same Khalid Abdullah-owned silks and, like Kingman, ran out an impressive winner of the Greenham Stakes prior to one of the most jaw-dropping Guineas performances of all time three years ago.

He looks certain to go off a red-hot favourite for the Guineas, but Gosden is doing his best to temper expectation as the trainer bids to win the race for the first time.

"If you like a horse going into any race there's a weight of expectation. You mostly try to keep it to yourself for fear of disappointment," said the Clarehaven handler.

"He's been in good form since the Greenham. I have been pleased with him between his races.

"He's a very genuine, honest horse who gives you everything he's got, so there should be some improvement.

"You cannot realistically stage a strongly-run Guineas at home so we will only find out when he races, but he gives us every indication that he will stay the mile."

The Richard Hannon-trained Toormore was champion two-year-old after winning each of his three starts last year and maintained his unbeaten record with a workmanlike victory in the Craven Stakes on his return.

Tim Palin, racing manager for owners Middleham Park Racing, said: "I don't think any of us are feeling any pressure, to be honest. There's certainly no pressure on Richard Hughes or Toormore.

"After Kingman won the Greenham Stakes at Newbury the way he did, all of the pressure was taken off our shoulders.

"If Kingman is the next Frankel, we're not going to beat him. And if Australia really is the best horse Aidan O'Brien has ever trained, as people are suggesting, we're not going to beat him either.

"Toormore cost £36,000, he was champion two-year-old and is lining up in a 2000 Guineas with a fighting chance. That in itself is a dream come true.

"I think we can be reasonably confident about what we'll get from our horse.

"If one of the others is better than him, then so be it."

Toormore is one of three runners for Hannon, who also saddles Greenham Stakes runner-up Night Of Thunder and Free Handicap winner Shifting Power.

As a son of Galileo out of the brilliant race mare Ouija Board, Australia is certainly bred to be a Classic contender and O'Brien has not made any secret of the regard in which he holds the colt.

He told At The Races; "Everybody knows he's bred to get the Derby trip. Obviously, he has to start somewhere and it would be nice to start him at Newmarket on a nice bit of ground.

"We'll take it one race at a time and hopefully get him started and go from there."

Australia is joined in the Guineas line-up by the Ryan Moore-ridden War Command, who impressively claimed the Dewhurst as Newmarket on his last start as a juvenile.

Kingston Hill enjoyed a spectacular end to his three-year-old season, completing a hat-trick in little over a month with a brilliant display in the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster.

Although always rated more of a Derby hope, trainer Roger Varian, saddling his first British Classic runner, expects his stable star to make his presence felt.

He told his website www.varianstable.com: "He has had a trouble-free preparation and looks in great condition.

"He looked top class last season and nothing he has done since his win in the Racing Post Trophy has made me doubt that.

"I am confident he will run a big race."

Charm Spirit and Bookrunner both run for France, while Noozhoh Canarias is a first Spanish-trained runner in a British Classic.

Freddy Head's Charm Spirit warmed up for his trip to Newmarket by taking the Prix Djebel at Maisons-Laffitte, with the Mikel Delzangles-trained Bookrunner just a neck away in fourth.

"I am very happy with Charm Spirit. He has done very well since the Djebel," said Head, who rode Zino to Guineas glory in 1982.

"He will be my first 2000 Guineas runner as a trainer and it is a race that I would love to win."

Delzangles trained 33-1 shot Makfi to win the 2000 Guineas four years ago and expects Bookrunner to improve for his Djebel comeback.

He said: "The horse looks in great form and I think his run in the Prix Djebel was good for him.

"It is hard to compare (Bookrunner with Makfi) at this stage.

"We will see how he runs on Saturday and we will find out in a few months whether he can be as good as Makfi or not."

Noozhoh Canarias is a hero in Spain for Madrid-based Enrique Leon, who said: "If nobody else wants to make the running we will be happy to do it - it is what he is used to."

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