Abtaal team confident ahead of Guineas

Jean-Claude Rouget’s Abtaal remains on course for a tilt at the Qipco 2000 Guineas at Newmarket on Saturday week.

Abtaal team confident ahead of Guineas

Jean-Claude Rouget’s Abtaal remains on course for a tilt at the Qipco 2000 Guineas at Newmarket on Saturday week.

The Hamdan Al Maktoum-owned colt was narrowly beaten in the Prix Djebel at Maisons-Laffitte earlier on his comeback, but is a best priced 12-1 for the Rowley Mile Classic at Headquarters.

The owner’s racing manager, Angus Gold, feels the three-year-old will strip fitter with that seasonal reappearance under his belt and has confirmed Christophe Soumillon will once again be in the saddle.

“He has always been due to come to Newmarket and as far as I know that remains the case,” said Gold.

“Jean-Claude is happy with him at the moment and we were all pleased with his comeback run.

“Seven furlongs was always going to be the minimum distance he would want to go and he was staying on all the way to the line, which was pleasing.

“He is a horse who will stay further so a good, strong pace on a galloping track like Newmarket should suit him well.

“I saw him earlier in the year and he is a big, gross horse who takes a lot of getting fit, so you’d like to think he will improve a lot from his last run.

“I hope the rain stops because while he has won with cut in the ground, he’s a good actioned horse and I think he’d be most effective on a sound surface.”

The same owner, trainer and jockey combination will also be represented in the following day’s 1000 Guineas, with comfortable Prix Imprudence winner Mashoora also set to make the journey from France.

“She is coming over as well and she was very good in her trial. She didn’t win by far but she travelled well and Christophe always looked comfortable,” Gold added.

“Her pedigree suggests she wouldn’t mind soft ground, but having said that, unlike the colt I think a mile would be the furthest she’d want to go, so we wouldn’t want really stamina sapping ground for her.”

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