JOHN Gosden has expressed his delight with Kingman as the colt attempts to step up on his Newmarket second in the Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas at the Curragh.
The Khalid Abdullah-owned three-year-old has had a huge reputation since bolting up on his racecourse debut last June and enhanced that when looking potentially top class in the Greenham Stakes on his return to action this year.
He dismissed Richard Hannon’s Night Of Thunder with ease that afternoon yet had the tables turned on him in the 2000 Guineas at Headquarters, when the field split into two in what most people agreed was a rather unsatisfactory renewal.
Classic redemption has been Kingman’s aim since then, and with the Newmarket winner waiting for Ascot, he has been backed into odds-on favouritism.
“He’s in good form, he went nicely on Saturday and I’m happy with him now,” said Gosden. “We’d like to run on good ground – that’s what everyone is looking for so you can show a turn of foot. We don’t want it fast for him, but it might go the other way.
“He’s in good order, he came out of his race well and I couldn’t be happier.” Abdullah’s racing manager Teddy Grimthorpe felt the best horse probably won at Newmarket but there will be no excuses in Ireland.
“We were very positive about him before and he’s really done everything we’d have hoped,” he said.
“We’ve got no qualms about the result [at Newmarket]. If Kieren’s [Fallon] horse [Night Of Thunder] had stayed straight then he’d probably win by further, so you can’t complain about that. He was on our side although he diverted to the middle.
“All has been fine with Kingman in the lead up to the race and they are calling the going yielding which should be fine.”
As well as saddling the winner that day, Hannon also provided the fourth in Shifting Power, who was supplemented on Monday.
Richard Hughes will be in the saddle this time having been on Toormore at Newmarket.
“Kingman is the one to beat and I have to make up two lengths, but it’s a horse race and anything can happen,” said Hughes.
Aidan O’Brien is looking for his tenth win in the race and War Command is aiming to follow in the recent footsteps of Power and Roderic O’Connor who disappointed in the English Guineas before bouncing back to win in Ireland. O’Brien has stopped short of putting blinkers on War Command, but has opted for cheekpieces.
He said: “He’s a lazy worker and we had debated about putting blinkers on him at home last year, but then he won the Coventry and we didn’t have to.
“Ryan [Moore] said at Newmarket, ‘He didn’t wake up at all for me’. There is a chance [with headgear]he’ll step up and he needs to.”
Paul Deegan’s Prince Of All is improving rapidly and landed a Listed race at Dundalk in fine style last time out.
“As long as it’s not too soft he’ll run. He made all last time because we thought there’d be little pace and as he was coming back one furlong in trip we thought we’d make it less complicated,” said Deegan. “He’s a very big horse, he’s imposing and has a high cruising speed so we didn’t want a tactical race. He did it well as he was out on his own a long time and could have got lonely.
“He’s come on a bit since then and has improved for the run. He’ll keep on improving and he’s only had three runs.
“The Curragh should suit him more as it’s a stiff track. He’ll get ten furlongs later in the year I think.”