Kingman facing classic test

Kingman puts his Classic aspirations on the line in the Aon Greenham Stakes at Newbury.

Kingman facing classic test

The John Gosden-trained colt is third favourite at a top-priced 7-1 for the Qipco 2000 Guineas, as much as for his reputation at home as his achievements on the track.

He has done what has been asked of him with victories in both his starts as a two-year-old – a six-length romp in a Newmarket maiden followed by a cosy success in a four-runner affair for the Group 3 Solario Stakes at Sandown at the end of August.

Injury prevented him from running again last season, but all has gone well in the build-up to his return on the track in what looks a quality renewal of this seven-furlong event.

“It’s nice to get him back. He’s wintered very well. He’s had a very straight forward preparation and everything has gone according to plan,” said Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to owner Khalid Abdullah.

“He’s pleased in his work and whatever he does tomorrow, I’d hope he’d do a great deal better. I’m sure he’ll come on a good deal for it.

“It will definitely give us a pointer as to where we are with him.”

Abdullah’s retained rider James Doyle has also been happy with the horse’s preparation.

“I sat on him last week. I was really pleased with him. He did a nice, routine piece of work. I couldn’t be happier with him,” the jockey told At The Races. “I think the prep is needed to get more experience into him. He’s lightly-raced. It wasn’t a big field at Sandown and I wasn’t able to teach him.”

Night Of Thunder has been attracting support for the 2000 Guineas, although his bare form in winning both his races in 2013 leaves him with some improvement to find.

He has, however, been pleasing his trainer Richard Hannon, who also has a serious Classic candidate in Toormore, and believes he is a horse not to underestimate.

“Night Of Thunder won well at Goodwood and Doncaster last season and is a horse we have always liked. He has been working well this spring, and we have no doubt that he will stay the longer distance,” the Wiltshire handler told

“He has already shown that he handles soft ground, and, while it has dried up, there will still be some ease in it, so underfoot conditions are not a problem.”

Astaire took two of the big two-year-old prizes in 2013, the Gimcrack and the Middle Park Stakes.

While accepting this is a tough race, trainer Kevin Ryan feels it is as good a place as any to start the campaign.

“It looks like it will be a hot renewal but we have to start somewhere and we will take our chance,” said Ryan.

“He has wintered great and looks the part. He is in good form at home so we will see.”

Connections are looking for a guide as to how to campaign Berkshire, who looked a colt full of promise when winning the Chesham Stakes and Royal Lodge Stakes from three starts as a juvenile.

The Paul Cole-trained colt holds entries in the 2000 Guineas, the Dante Stakes and the Epsom Derby.

“Berkshire is fit and has been working well. We think he has improved from last year and we are hoping for a good run. For the first time we have a good draw! Fingers crossed!” the trainer told

Lat Hawill is the least experienced horse in the line-up and is very much an unexposed type after he trotted up by eight lengths on his sole start in a Newcastle maiden in October.

“He’s a nice colt. Obviously he was impressive when he won a maiden, but we are talking different class,” said trainer Marco Botti.

“It’s a very good race, so for a horse with very little experience it’s going to be a big ask and we will know where we are.

“These are probably 10 of the best horses at around a mile this year. It’s a proper trial.

“For him, I hope the ground is not going to be too tacky because he’s a big horse. The last thing we want to do is to start him off on ground that is soft. He would appreciate better ground.

“He’s done really well. He’s matured and has grown into a nice horse.”

Golden Town won the Convivial at York, one of the best two-year-olds maidens of the season, last August.

The Godolphin-owned colt is reported to have done well over the winter monthsl.

“Golden Town has done well over the winter and looks to have improved as a three-year-old,” said trainer Saeed bin Suroor.

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