Duke in good shape ahead of classic test

James Toller believes Bachelor Duke, the only maiden in tomorrow’s UltimateBet.com 2000 Guineas, is no forlorn hope despite having the odds stacked against him.

James Toller believes Bachelor Duke, the only maiden in tomorrow’s UltimateBet.com 2000 Guineas, is no forlorn hope despite having the odds stacked against him.

“Touch wood, we’ve been very happy with him,” said the Newmarket trainer.

“His work has gone to schedule and I hope we have got him in good shape, he appears to be very well.

“I hadn’t been in a huge rush to run him before the Guineas, so we took a view we’d go straight for the race.

“I was particularly pleased with him in the Dewhurst. I didn’t think he got the clearest of runs and he still ran a real good race and that’s very encouraging.”

The Miswaki colt, owned by the Duke of Devonshire, finished fourth to another Guineas contender Milk It Mick in the Darley Dewhurst Stakes on his third and final start as a two-year-old.

Toller is not worried about his runner’s maiden status.

“It’s not his fault that I ran him in Group races. I don’t think it will make much difference. He’s had enough experience,” he said.

“We’ve always liked the horse and he’s never done anything to disappoint us yet.”

The bookmakers are not underestimating his chances, the leading layers all quoting Seb Sanders’ mount at 25-1.

Toller realises the task facing his horse in the Newmarket Classic, he went on: “I think you have to respect the Irish runners and the two trial winners this spring – Salford City and Haafhd – are pretty good and I should mention the French horse (Whipper) as well.”

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