sport

Kingman primed for Classic bid

John Gosden has expressed his delight with Kingman as the colt attempts to land the Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas at the Curragh on Saturday.

The Khalid Abdullah-owned three-year-old has had a huge reputation since bolting up on his racecourse debut last June and enhanced that when looking potentially top class in the Greenham Stakes on his return to action this year.

He dismissed Richard Hannon's Night Of Thunder with ease that afternoon yet had the tables turned on him in the 2000 Guineas at Headquarters, when the field split into two in what most people agreed was a rather unsatisfactory renewal.

Classic redemption has been Kingman's aim since, and with the Newmarket winner waiting for Ascot, he has been backed into odds-on favouritism.

"He's in good form, he went nicely on Saturday and I'm happy with him now," said Gosden.

"We'd like to run on good ground - that's what everyone is looking for so you can show a turn of foot. We don't want it fast for him, but it might go the other way.

"He's in good order, he came out of his race well and I couldn't be happier."

Abdullah's racing manager Teddy Grimthorpe felt the best horse probably won at Newmarket but there will be no excuses in Ireland.

"We were very positive about him before and he's really done everything we'd have hoped," he said.

"We've got no qualms about the result (at Newmarket). If Kieren's (Fallon) horse (Night Of Thunder) had stayed straight then he'd probably win by further, so you can't complain about that. He was on our side although he diverted to the middle.

"All has been fine with Kingman in the lead up to the race and they are calling the going yielding which should be fine."

As well as saddling the winner that day, Hannon also provided the fourth in Shifting Power, who was supplemented on Monday.

Richard Hughes will be in the saddle this time having been on Toormore at Newmarket.

"He should run a good race, I think the ground should be good come the weekend. I've been speaking to my dad (Dessie) who said it hasn't been too bad and keeps improving," said Hughes.

"There's no point kidding ourselves, Kingman is the one to beat and I have to make up two lengths, but it's a horse race and anything can happen."

Aidan O'Brien is looking for his 10th win in the race and War Command is aiming to follow in the recent footsteps of Power and Roderic O'Connor who disappointed in the English Guineas before bouncing back to win in Ireland.

O'Brien has stopped short of putting blinkers on War Command, but has opted for cheekpieces.

He said: "Before the Guineas he wasn't working as impressively as Australia and the way they finished is the way they worked at home.

"He's a lazy worker and we had debated about putting blinkers on him at home last year, but then he won the Coventry and we didn't have to.

"Ryan (Moore) said at Newmarket 'he didn't wake up at all for me'.

"There is a chance (with headgear) he'll step up and he needs to."

Paul Deegan's Prince Of All is improving at a rate of knots and landed a Listed race at Dundalk in fine style last time out.

"As long as it's not too soft he'll run. He made all last time because we thought there'd be little pace and as he was coming back one furlong in trip we thought we'd make it less complicated," said Deegan.

"He's a very big horse, he's imposing and has a high cruising speed so we didn't want a tactical race. He did it well as he was out on his own a long time and could have got lonely.

"He's come on a bit since then and has improved for the run. He'll keep on improving and he's only had three runs.

"The Curragh should suit him more as it's a stiff track. He'll get 10 furlongs later in the year I think."

Dermot Weld's team have been in excellent form so far this term and he expects his representative Mustajeeb to be involved at the finish.

"He put up an excellent trial for the Guineas. Beating the older horses was good, he quickened nicely and he's a progressive horse," said Weld.

"Whether he's good enough to beat Kingman remains to be seen. He's good enough to compete - good enough to beat him remains doubtful. He's got a definite each-way chance."

Obliterator has only had two runs but has has shown stacks of ability for Ger Lyons. However, if the forecast is right he may not be run.

"Ger is very happy with the horse, but he won't run if the word soft is in the going description," said David Redvers, racing manager for owners Qatar Racing.

"It's very frustrating as he's in such good form, but there if there is a deluge of rain at the Curragh, as some are predicting, he won't be lining up.

"If the ground is not suitable, we'll probably aim towards the French Derby and then Royal Ascot."

John Murphy's Big Time was just half a length behind David Wachman's Sudirman in both the Railway and Phoenix Stakes last year and will be stepping up to a mile for the first time.

"This has been his aim since his last run, he's in very good shape and I couldn't be happier," said Murphy.

"He just had a tiny cough in late March and early April so we skipped the trials and have gone straight for it.

"I just hope it's not soft or heavy ground. If he stays, I'd be looking for him to run a big race and I'm really excited."