Kingman supreme in Ireland
Published 24/05/2014 | 16:12
Kingman brought enlightenment to a rain-soaked afternoon at the Curragh with a spectacular victory in the Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas.
Trainer John Gosden revealed he had come "quite close" to taking the colt out of the Classic after a sustained spell of heavy showers had left conditions very testing.
Luckily for his army of followers, Kingman was allowed to seize the opportunity with a performance which bristled with authority and class.
Beaten into second in the Newmarket equivalent earlier this month, his backers never really had an anxious moment on this occasion as he travelled powerfully throughout in the hands of James Doyle.
Kingman moved smoothly into contention from his early position in mid-division as the runners came over towards the near rail in the straight, and the response was immediate when Doyle pressed the button a furlong out.
Sent off the 4-5 favourite, the son of Invincible Spirit powered through the mud to record a five-length verdict over the supplemented Shifting Power, trained by Richard Hannon.
Mustajeeb finished third, another two lengths behind the exceptional winner, who will now renew rivalry with Hannon's Newmarket Guineas winner Night Of Thunder in the St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Gosden said: "The track's in pristine condition and he handled it very well. Two (furlongs) out, you could see he was cruising. He's a very talented horse and it's lovely to win a Guineas with him.
"He's a miler and it's good fun because of Richard Hannon, who I'm very fond of. We've got some rivalry now as the score is 1-1, and he'll go for the St James's Palace now."
Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager for Kingman's owner Khalid Abdullah, said: "He travelled really well in the race and did it pretty comfortably.
"Prince Khalid said we have to make this horse a Classic winner. This is a hugely important race for us. I would think we would be still thinking about the QEII (at Ascot) at the end of the year, but we've a few little obstacles to get past before then."
Asked how close he had come to taking Kingman out of the race, Gosden went on: "I was quite close. I walked the whole track and it was very debatable. The groundsman has done a fantastic job.
"If they'd had a big handicap over that ground first I probably wouldn't have run. They stayed just off the rail where they had raced in the sprint. It's good track management and important when trying to run a Classic.
"Drawn number one in a normal race you'd be concerned about getting boxed in, so when they came across it left him with a clear run and able to relax and come when he wanted.
"I was talking to Frankie (Dettori) and James this morning and I told him to sit chilly and wait and wait. A mile was taking some getting in the conditions - he rode him beautifully."
Doyle, who is relatively new to the position of retained rider for Abdullah, said: "I'm delighted for the horse, he proved what a superstar he is today. The race worked out really nicely."