Top to tackle Guineas test

Top to tackle Guineas test

Roger Charlton insists soft conditions at Newmarket would not stop Top Offer lining up in Saturday’s Qipco 2000 Guineas.

The Dansili colt made a huge impression when making a winning debut at Newbury last August, but that proved to be his only juvenile start after he met with a setback.

Connections had been looking forward to seeing him make his seasonal reappearance in last month’s Greenham Stakes at Newbury, but he was withdrawn the day before the recognised Guineas trial due to the rain-softened ground.

Conditions looks set to be similar this weekend and as a result Top Offer has been drifting on Betfair, but his participation is in absolutely no doubt according to his trainer.

“There are no doubts about him running – he’ll run whatever the ground. The fact is, we don’t know what ground he wants,” said Charlton.

“I don’t think we should read too much into the fact we didn’t run in the Greenham because it was soft.

“We just didn’t want him to have a very hard race on soft ground two weeks before the Guineas and as it turned out it was a messy race.

“If the Greenham had been three weeks before the Guineas, he probably would have run.

“He is a very good moving horse and if you asked me whether I’d prefer good to firm ground or good to soft, of course I would say good to firm.

“But that is not to say he definitely won’t handle softer ground, we won’t know until we run him on it.

“It might not be soft on Saturday anyway, we’ll just have to see what happens, but he’ll be running and I’m very happy with him.”

While Top Offer has a clear lack of experience, one horse who will not be caught short in that department is the John Quinn-trained Red Duke.

The three-year-old won twice from six starts as a juvenile and ran a perfectly respectable race to finish fifth in the UAE Derby at Meydan at the end of March.

Yorkshire-based Quinn has been pleased with his charge since he arrived home and feels he could outrun his current Guineas odds of 66-1.

“He’s in good fettle and I’m very happy with him,” said Quinn.

“We could do with the ground drying up for the rest of the week, but we’ll have to see what happens.

“I was very pleased with his run at Meydan. He was drawn 12 of 14 and had to race wide the whole way.

“He came there at the top of the straight like he was going to play a big part and he just hasn’t stayed the trip at the end of the day, but he still ran well.

“I’ve been happy with him since he came home and we’re hoping for the best. I think he’s too big a price, but we’ll see.”

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