Chaldean provided Andrew Balding with his second win in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket in four years on Saturday. The son of Frankel developed into a top-class juvenile winning four of his five starts, including the Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes on the Rowley Mile last Autumn. The Juddmonte owned colt had unseated Frankie Dettori soon after leaving the stalls in the Greenham Stakes at Newbury on his reappearance but the partnership were very much in tact in the first Classic of the season. Racing prominently, Chaldean stayed on strongly beat Hi Royal by a length and three quarters with Royal Scotsman back in third. It was a fairlytale result for Dettori who was winning the race for a fourth time and in his final season.
The two runners in the Top 40, namely Hi Royal (125/1) and Noble Style ran crackers in second and sixth respectively. Kevin Ryan's runner-up appreciated the return to a mile and will be even better over ten furlongs in due course. Indeed, it wouldn't be a surprise if he lined up in the Dante Stakes at York later this month, provided it doesn't come too soon. Otherwise, the Group 3 Hampton Court Stakes at Royal Ascot (22nd June) looks tailormade for him. Given an excellent front running ride by Oisin Murphy, he spoiled his chance by hanging left inside the final furlong - I genuinely feel he would have won had the Kodiac colt kept straight inside the final 200 yards. Noble Style raced keenly early but travelled beautifully in the rain softened ground. Entering the dip, the Godolphin runner was going as well as anything before his stamina gave way. Charlie Appleby's horse possesses speed in abundance and has Commonwealth Cup written all over him. He looks a top-class sprinter in the making.
Michael Dods' team have been slower than usual to come to hand - largely due to the wet spring - but the Darlington based handler had an excellent day with 3 winners and 2 seconds from 7 runners. Northern Express (11/2) gained his first win over a mile in the Thirsk Hunt Cup with a plucky display under Callum Rodriguez. The five year old had previously shown his best form over seven furlongs on a sound surface. The highlight of the day though came from stablemate Azure Blue (7/2) in the Listed Kilivington Stakes at HQ. The improving four year old was maintaining her unbeaten record on the Rowley Mile (three from three) and her second Listed success at the track. Paul Mulrennan's mount arguably hit the front soon enough having gone through the six furlongs contest strongly. A half length scorer, she is ready for a rise in grade and I texted Michael afterwards to remind him that the entries close on Tuesday lunchtime next week for the Group 2 Temple Stakes at Haydock (27th May). The drop back to five furlongs shouldn't be an issue and the flat track will be right up her street. She looks cut from the same cloth as former Group 1 winning stable companions, Mabs Cross and Mecca's Angel.
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