/ Racing

Trainers John Gosden and Richard Hannon question accuracy of market for St James's Palace Stakes

Updated: Tuesday, 17 Jun 2014 10:45 | Comments

Night Of Thunder landed the opening Classic of the season despite hanging markedly left in the closing stages
Night Of Thunder landed the opening Classic of the season despite hanging markedly left in the closing stages

Trainers John Gosden and Richard Hannon believe that the betting market for today’s St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot underestimates the prospects of the latter’s Night Of Thunder confirming Qipco 2000 Guineas running with runner-up Kingman.

The highlight on day one of the showpiece meeting is being billed as the 'royal rumble', as Hannon’s English Guineas winner takes on Gosden's Irish Guineas hero.

The Group One contest will be the third time the pair have met this season, after Kingman won comfortably at Newbury in the Greenham before Night Of Thunder turned the tables at Newmarket.

The bookmakers have Kingman as odds-on favourite to gain his revenge, which Gosden disagrees with, and he is also giving full respect to the likes of Night Of Thunder's stablemate and champion two-year-old Toormore, as well as War Command, last year's Coventry and Dewhurst winner.

"I've walked the track and it will be good to firm on the straight track by the race and good ground on the old (round) track," said Gosden.

"I'm very happy with him. This is a very good race, though - it is by no means a two-horse race and if anyone goes in there thinking it is they are wrong, I'm certainly not underestimating anything.

"The front two are two very nice colts, but it is definitely not just between them and I'm also not sure how the bookmakers have it priced up as it is. I would have it as even between them (Kingman and Night Of Thunder).

"It's nice when you get two horses who keep meeting, it's good for racing."

Kingman provided James Doyle with his first Classic winner and despite that being on very soft ground at the Curragh, owner Khalid Abdullah's retained rider does not expect the quicker surface to be an excuse.

"I sat on him last week and we did a nice piece of work on ground that was just on the fast side of good," said Doyle.

"He's a very straightforward horse with a lot of gears and a high cruising speed.

"It's going to be run towards the end of the card, a few races will have taken place, but I'm sure the clerk of the course will have it in good shape.

"I'm sure it will be nice, fresh ground and hopefully everything will go to plan as I'm really looking forward to it."

Hannon is also struggling to see why Kingman is favoured so much in the betting.

"It's going to be a great race. I've got no reason to see why the form from Newmarket's going to be reversed and I don't see why the betting isn't 6-4 each of two," said Hannon.

"Kingman was very impressive in Ireland but it's going to be quick enough ground at Ascot. I thought Night Of Thunder was a worthy winner of the Guineas and he's in great form."

Toormore is owned by Middleham Park Racing, whose racing manager Tim Palin said: "We felt we had one or two excuses after the Guineas, but I don't think there will be any on Tuesday.

"I'm very much a believer in the science of the 'bounce' factor and after his big effort in the Craven, his first run since September, maybe he slightly regressed in the Guineas, turning out just 16 days later.

"Another potential excuse was they probably went a bit hard up front. People who know more about times than me say it was always going to set up for something coming from off the pace.

"Hopefully we'll find out whether we've still got the Toormore we all hoped and dreamed he was, or whether horses like Night Of Thunder and Kingman have improved past him from two to three.

"We'll find out whether he can progress into a champion or whether being champion two-year-old was all he's destined to be.

"If he wins then we can look upwards at races like the Sussex Stakes.

"If he gets beat, we might have to bob and weave and maybe go down the Prix Jean Prat and Prix Maurice de Gheest route."

Godolphin's Outstrip may have benefited from a patient ride when taking a last season’s Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf at Santa Anita, but trainer Charlie Appleby believes his reappearance at Newmarket was too bad to be true.

"Outstrip blew very hard after he finished last in the Guineas and he then scoped dirty so we gave him a nice break, waited until he had finished his treatment and then resumed training. I have been pleased with his preparation since," said Appleby.

"He took some of the best juvenile form into the Guineas so he deserves to line up in a top-quality race like this. I'm looking forward to again seeing the Outstrip that we saw last year.

"There does not seem to be any pace in the race but if they dawdle early on that could suit us. He showed a turn of foot in the Breeders' Cup and the ability to quicken up could be one of his attributes.

"He is uncomplicated but the one thing that we probably won't do is make the running with him as he may have hit the front too soon when he was beaten by Toormore at Goodwood last year.

"I walked away very disappointed from the Guineas as he had been pleasing us all through the winter."

Another to disappoint in the Guineas was Aidan O'Brien's War Command but many from Ballydoyle improve significantly from their first run. He was pulled out of the Irish Guineas when the ground went soft and wears cheekpieces for the first time.

"On the day of the Irish Guineas the ground went heavy which wouldn't have suited him, he's a good ground horse so it wouldn't have made sense running him," Joseph O'Brien told At The Races.

"He seems in good form and we think he's improved since Newmarket. Looking at the Guineas now it doesn't look as bad a run as we thought it was at the time, he was only beat five or six lengths so he ran a good race.

"We thought he'd improve plenty for the run and we feel that he has, so we hope he can get a bit closer.

"If he needs them (cheekpieces) I'm not sure, he was probably rusty at Newmarket. He's a very laid-back horse, though, so if they sharpen him up a couple of lengths then brilliant."

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