Sport Horse Racing

Sunday 27 May 2018

Slow ground a concern for Camelot in Guineas -- O'Brien

Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

With heavy rain rendering the official going as soft at Newmarket, varying degrees of caution are emanating from the two Irish camps with runners in tomorrow's 2,000 Guineas.

Officials at the course remain confident that the Qipco-sponsored first Classic of the year will be run on good to soft ground, but Jim Bolger elected not to declare his Dewhurst victor Parish Hall for the Group One yesterday, while Joseph O'Brien and John Oxx admitted that their respective contenders would be happier on a drier surface.

O'Brien will be aboard Camelot for his father Aidan, and the Doncaster Group One winner's odds at the head of the market drifted a mite to 7/4 after his teenage rider expressed his concerns.

"I have to have a question mark over the ground," the dual champion apprentice admitted of Camelot. "He's a very good moving horse and won both starts last year on good ground. The ground at the weekend is an unknown, but we won't know until he goes and does it."

Being by the recently deceased Montjeu, most of whose offspring cope well in slow conditions, O'Brien's fears may prove unfounded. Indeed, when you take into account the dismal record of the sire's better progeny over a mile, conditions might well help Camelot.

Oxx also suggested that Born To Sea would prefer better going, but he doesn't see it as a serious issue for what will be just his third runner in the Newmarket feature.

"He still has to prove he stays a mile and I'm not sure he'd want a slog," Oxx reported of Johnny Murtagh's mount, "but the ground as such, I don't think it's a big worry."

Parish Hall was the notable absentee when a final field of 18 was unveiled for the race yesterday. Ballydoyle's Power, with Ryan Moore up, is the only other Irish-trained runner.

The Rosegreen team also has the favourite for Sunday's 1,000 Guineas in the unbeaten Maybe, and O'Brien, who won three times on the Galileo filly last year, suggested that he didn't "see the ground being a major issue".

Ger Lyons' Lightening Pearl could yet miss the fillies' showpiece because of the ground, but a decision may not be made until tomorrow.

Oxx also revealed that his Epsom Derby hope Akeed Mofeed -- which met with a setback recently -- is an intended runner in the Derrinstown Trial at Leopardstown on Sunday week, though he added: "He would certainly want another week, but if we can get him there fit enough to run a good race we'd be hoping to run. I think he has to run at Leopardstown if he's going to run in the Derby, so we'll see how the next 10 days go."

Irish Independent

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