Frankel shortens as Bassett misses Guineas

OPPOSITION to Frankel in the Qipco 2000 Guineas a week on Saturday is becoming increasingly thin on the ground with Wootton Bassett the latest to drop out from the Newmarket Classic.

There had been a sense of unease about the colt’s prospects ever since Richard Fahey revealed he had missed work after a setback in February and the trainer admitted last week he was struggling to get him ready.

Wootton Bassett, who joins Godolphin’s Dubai Prince as a Guineas defector this week, won all five starts as a two-year-old, culminating in the Group One Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere at Longchamp last October.

He is likely to head for the Irish or French versions instead while Henry Cecil’s Frankel is now available at no bigger than 4-7 with Sky Bet and Blue Square.

Fahey said: “We’ve just run out of time. We’ve got to turn up 100% and we’re not going to get there 100%.

“We’ve got another month or so for the French and the Irish Guineas so that gives us more time – it will be one or the other. It’s a shame we’re not going to Newmarket because I fancied taking Frankel on. Hopefully we’ll meet him one day.”

Another to drop out will be Manhaj, who will instead have a later-season campaign.

John Hammond’s colt also has entries in the Investec and the Irish Derby.

The son of Medicean, who is owned by Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, won both of his starts as a juvenile, in a maiden at Maisons-Laffitte and a conditions event at Deauville last August.

Newmarket stable of James Toller, who intends to run Loving Spirit at his local track as long as his final serious piece of work goes according to plan.

Toller is not unrealistic about his colt’s chances but added him to the Derby field earlier this year on the back of two quick runs at Newmarket last October.

Jeremy Noseda’s Guineas entry Garde Cotiere is most likely to appear in the Casino At bet365.com Conditions Stakes at Sandown on Sunday.

Owned by Sir Robert Ogden, Garde Cotiere was also put away following an outing in October, when he collected a novice race at Lingfield in useful fashion.

Ogden’s racing manager Barry Simpson reported: “We’ll have to see what the ground is like and how he is but it’s probably a slight favourite that he’ll run. He’s ready to go and they are pleased with him.

“He is in the Guineas and in the Dante. If he runs at the weekend you would say he wouldn’t run in the Guineas, unless he were to win without coming off the bridle.”

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