Sport Horse Racing

Friday 6 December 2019

Gosden's Kingman ticks all the right boxes

John Gosden's Kingman and James Doyle left their rivals trailing in the Greenham Stakes at Newbury last month - the pair can repeat the dose in this afternoon's 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket. Photo: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images
John Gosden's Kingman and James Doyle left their rivals trailing in the Greenham Stakes at Newbury last month - the pair can repeat the dose in this afternoon's 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket. Photo: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

Richard Forristal

Australia and War Command are charged with emulating Aidan O'Brien's six previous Qipco 2,000 Guineas heroes by claiming the Newmarket Classic on their respective seasonal debuts.

It is a rip-roaring edition of the mile Group One, with Kingman, Toormore, Kingston Hill other marquee names among the 14-strong field.

The drop of rain that has fallen in recent days on the Rowley Mile is at least expected to ensure the participation of Kingman.

John Gosden's superlative Greenham Stakes winner continues to head the betting following that Newbury rout, but there is plenty depth to the home defence.

Toormore is similarly unbeaten, Richard Hannon's 2013 National Stakes winner being pushed out by Ryan Moore to land a middling renewal of the Craven Stakes on his reappearance.

Kingston Hill doesn't have the benefit of a run, but Roger Varian knows what he is at, as evidenced by his handling of this handsome grey last year.

Ultimately considered a Derby prospect, Andrea Atzeni's mount was impressive in a Doncaster Group One over a mile on the last of three autumn starts, albeit it was a relatively weak edition of the race.

It will be fascinating to see how he fares, likewise the Ballydoyle duo. O'Brien has made some bold statements about Australia, though War Command is interesting under Moore.

A dual Group One-winning juvenile having shown a great attitude to take the Coventry over six furlongs and the Dewhurst over seven, his only reversal in five runs came when his trainer claimed to have left him undercooked for the Phoenix Stakes.

He is ground versatile and it would be no surprise to see him fare better than his flashier stablemate.


Nonetheless, you have to respect his genius handler's assertion that Australia is a special colt and ground on the slow side would not be a concern for the son of Galileo.

He progressed with each of his three runs to slam Dermot Weld's highly-regarded Free Eagle in a Leopardstown Group Three on his final outing, a performance that has yet to be validated in any tangible form – the main reason being the runner-up was reported to be below par and will not run until the autumn due to a setback.

If Australia is the second coming, then a third Irish-trained winner of this historic £450,000 contest could be a formality, but his pedigree suggests he is more of a legitimate Derby contender at this stage. Kingman is bred for this job and has filled the eye for some time.

The smooth manner of his Greenham Stakes victory reaffirmed that the son of our National Stud's leading sire, Invincible Spirit, is the complete package. In stretching his unbeaten record to three, he settled nicely just behind the leaders, travelled smoothly and quickened responsively once James Doyle asked him to lengthen.

In short, Kingman has ticks in all the right boxes. Having advised him here at 8/1 prior to the Greenham, the 7/4 now available obviously represents far worse value, but he still appeals as by far the most likely winner of what promises to be a truly fascinating contest.

Eddie Lynam's terrific sprinter Sole Power tackles the Palace House Stakes, a Group Three that could be his for the taking if things fall his way under Moore with the prevailing good ground expected to suit.

However, the Newmarket raider that is fancied to be hardest to beat is Jim Bolger's Trading Leather in the Jockey Club Cup.

The impressive Irish Derby winner arguably signed off as the most accomplished three-year-old last term, having been placed in the King George at Ascot, York's Juddmonte International and the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown.

He is an outstanding prospect for the coming season, and is the clear pick on ratings in this 12-furlong Group Three. Michael Stoute's improving five-year-old Gospel Choir is respected, but odds of 5/4 about Trading Leather could yet prove to be generous.

Later on, Gosden could also take the 10-furlong Listed race with the William Buick-ridden Cloudscape. This is a cracking race, but Cloudscape is unbeaten in two starts, after toppling the subsequent facile 80-rated winner Windshear on his course and distance return. If he improves for that, he has the scope to deny higher-rated rivals here.

Best Bet: Trading Leather


Watching brief

Aidan O'Brien relies on Tapestry and Bracelet in tomorrow's 1,000 Guineas, with Joseph O'Brien putting his faith in the first-named seasonal debutante.

Tapestry was slightly unlucky when third past the post behind the Classic favourite Rizeena in the Moyglare Stud Stakes at the Curragh in the autumn.

That is decent form and her pedigree fully entitles her to have a cut at this, but whether she warrants being half the price of Bracelet is another matter.

Bracelet showed a telling turn of foot to land the Leopardstown trial that Ballydoyle's 2012 Guineas heroine Homecoming Queen won en route to glory and Ryan Moore is also booked for this second string. She made a big impression when winning her maiden at Leopardstown last June, and the form of the trial wasn't done any harm by the fifth, Queen Of Power, scooting up at Gowran Park last week. Oodds of 12/1 are too big to ignore.

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