KINGMAN ran out a scintillating winner of the Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas at the Curragh.
Beaten into second in the Newmarket equivalent earlier this month, his backers never really had an anxious moment on this occasion as he travelled powerfully throughout in the hands of James Doyle.
The John Gosden-trained colt moved smoothly into contention from his early position in mid-division as the runners came over towards the near rail in the straight, and the response was immediate when James Doyle pressed the button a furlong out.
Sent off the 4-5 favourite, Kingman dispelled any fears over the testing ground as he went five lengths clear of the supplemented Shifting Power, trained by Richard Hannon. Mustajeeb finished third.
Gosden said: “The track’s in pristine condition and he handled it very well. Two [furlongs] out, you could see he was cruising. He’s a very talented horse and it’s lovely to win a Guineas with him.
“This mile takes some getting in these conditions and he [Doyle] rode him beautifully. He’s a miler and it’s good fun because of Richard Hannon [trainer of Newmarket Guineas winner Night Of Thunder], who I’m very fond of. We’ve got some rivalry now as the score is 1-1 and he’ll go for the St James’s Palace [Royal Ascot] now.”
Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager for Kingman’s owner Khalid Abdullah, said: “He travelled really well in the race and did it pretty comfortably. You want good horses to have a bit of spirit. Prince Khalid said we have to make this horse a Classic winner. This is a hugely important race for us.
“I would think we would be still thinking about the QEII [Ascot] at the end of the year, but we’ve a few little obstacles to get past then.”
Gosden had walked the course before giving Kingman the all-clear.
Asked how close he had come to taking the son of Invincible Spirit out, Gosden said: “I was quite close, I walked the whole track and it was very debatable. The groundsman has done a fantastic job.
“If they’d had a big handicap over that ground first I probably wouldn’t have run, they stayed just off the rail where they had raced in the sprint. It’s good track management and important when running a Classic.
“He’s won on good to firm, on good to soft and now on soft to heavy – so he has covered all dimensions. Drawn number one in a normal race you’d be concerned about getting boxed in, so when they came across it left him a clear run and able to relax and come when he wanted.
“I was talking to Frankie [Dettori] and James this morning and I told him to sit chilly and wait and wait.
“A mile was taking some getting in the conditions – he rode him beautifully.”