Horse racing - sheikh mohammed charlie appleby

2000 Guineas Contenders Emerge From Weekend Trials

2 years ago

A great weekend’s racing on both sides of the Irish Sea has helped clarify the juvenile colts’ pecking order going into the autumn with John Gosden’s Too Darn Hot and Charlie Appleby’s Quorto both enhancing their already glowing reputations.

Too Darn Hot was first to maintain his unbeaten record when landing Doncaster’s Group 2 Howcroft Industrial Supplies Champagne Stakes at Doncaster on Saturday. The Dubawi colt initiated a fabulous 24-hour double strike for his sire when easily justfying his 4/11 odds, showing a fine turn of foot to come from off the pace to scoot clear on Town Moor, eventually beating the Acomb Stakes winner Phoenix Of Spain by a length and three-quarters, leaving his veteran rider Frankie Dettori almost lost for words.

“What he did between the three-furlong pole and furlong pole was pretty amazing,” the Italian-born star told ITV Racing. “He made six lengths in two furlongs – pretty special. Today is his first time on a flat track and he gave me a really good feel, he went through the gears.”

Too Darn Hot, owned and bred by Lord and Lady Lloyd Webber, is now the top priced 4/1 ante-post favourite with Betfair for next year’s 2000 Guineas.

24 hours later at the Curragh, Charlie Appleby sent another unbeaten Dubawi colt, Quorto (11/8f), into battle against Aidan O’Brien’s highly regarded Anthony Van Dyck (6/4) in the Group 1 Goffs Vincent O’Brien National Stakes. The Ballydoyle-based Group 2 Futurity Stakes winner hit the front three furlongs out under Ryan Moore, but William Buick on Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin-owned favourite followed him through before talking it up well over a furlong from home.

Although Anthony Van Dyck tried hard to bridge the gap, Quorto kept on too strongly for him and in the end there was a length-and-a-quarter separating the smart pair at the line. Another O’Brien representative, Christmas (9/1) came home in third.

“Coming here today we were very confident,”admitted Appleby. “He’s a typical Dubawi. From the Superlative Stakes [which he won at the Newmarket July meeting] to here, he needed all of that time and he had a spell where he went a bit quiet on us, but that’s typical of a Dubawi.”

Quorto, available at 14/1 for the 2000 Guineas before Sunday’s big race, is now an 8/1 shot with Paddy Power. There is a chance that the two young stars along with the other leading Classic contenders Calyx (9/1 with 888sport) and Ten Sovereigns (8/1 with BetStars), could head to the Group 1 Darley Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket next month, but it would be expecting too much at this stage for all four of the leading 2000 Guineas hopes to meet at this stage.

Paul Alster

Written by Paul Alster

Paul Alster has been part of the British and international racing media for more than three decades working as a race commentator, TV/radio presenter, journalist, betting correspondent, SP returner, and form analyst. He’s always sought out overpriced runners in handicap races, a quest that excites him as much now as it did at the start of his career.