Jockey James Doyle compared riding Qipco 2,000 Guineas fav-ourite Kingman to driving a Ferrari following his scintillating display in the Greenham Stakes at Newbury on Saturday.
John Gosden’s colt, who carries the Khalid Abdullah silks of the mighty Frankel, rocketed to the top of ante-posts lists for the first Classic of the season with a brilliant display, pulling four-and-a-half lengths clear without being extended. Plenty of talented opponents will be lying in wait on the Rowley Mile on 3 May, with the much-vaunted Australia rated his biggest threat, but Doyle is quietly confident Kingman will come out on top.
He said: “It was a good performance. I was really pleased with him. His ability was not doubted, it was just a case of getting another run into him. That was a job well done. I was never really worried (during the race). His work has been very good. When I rode him in a piece of work, in two strides I was on top of the lead horse so I was never concerned.
“He has got fantastic cruising speed, like Mr Gosden said. At the furlong pole when I asked him to go about his business, he dropped down a gear and got lower to the ground and picked up very well. It’s like being in a Ferrari, coming around a bend and dropping down a gear.
“The closer to the line we got, the more he was drawing away. Proper good ground will be perfect for him (at Newmarket). You’d have to question whether one would be good enough to go past him (in the Guineas).”
Meanwhile, Peter Chapple-Hyam has not trained a realistic Investec Derby candidate since Authorized’s triumph in 2007, but Arod earned the right to take another step towards Epsom after his striking success at Windsor yesterday.
The season is looking bright for Chapple-Hyam, a popular figure in the sport as much for his instinctive talent with horses as his heart-on-sleeve nature, as Qatar Racing also have the 2012 sales-topping yearling Hydrogen, a full-brother to Authorized, stabled at St Gatien in Newmarket.
Arod went off the 5-6 favourite on the back of a promising debut last November and was in front sooner than jockey Jamie Spencer would have liked in the Injured Jockeys Fund Maiden Stakes. But initial keenness did not prevent the Teofilo colt from striding five lengths away from Oaks entry Sea The Bloom to earn quotes of 33-1 for the Derby.
“He’s always a horse I have liked and I expected a good run,” said Chapple-Hyam. “He got a bump and was lit up, he’s still a child, really. I think he’ll stay a mile and a half…whether he’d get further I don’t know. He’s in a couple of the Derby trials and we’ll see what happens.
“He’s one of 300 horses in the Derby and I don’t want to big him up yet. I do like him, though. Hydrogen is the only horse anyone seems to ask me about. He had a few issues and it would be very hard to get him to the Derby but he’ll be a nice horse one day.
“When I get a good one, I seem to have two or three at the same time, then I have to wait another five years for another!”
Spencer tried to play down Arod’s success and said: “It was probably an ordinary maiden and he liked the ground but didn’t quite do the things we wanted to teach him to as he was a bit keen. But I gave him a squeeze in the home straight and off he went – that’s what I liked about him.”