Fallon confident Viscount Nelson can spring 2,000 Guineas upset

KIEREN Fallon believes his mount Viscount Nelson has a "live chance" in today's StanJames.com 2,000 Guineas.

The three-year-old is certainly bred for the job as a son of multiple Group 1 winner Giant's Causeway and being out of Irish Guineas and Epsom Oaks winner Imagine. Results on the racecourse so far have been mixed though, with just two successes from six starts and he was well held in second in the Leopardstown 2,000 Guineas Trial on his seasonal reappearance.

As a result, Viscount Nelson heads to Newmarket as the outsider of a trio of runners for Aidan O'Brien that includes hot favourite St Nicholas Abbey, but Fallon is keen on his chances.

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The six-time champion jockey, who has won the season's first Classic on four occasions, said: "With Aidan's, what you can call second or third strings, he can produce with them as well and this horse has got what it takes to win a Guineas.

"It's just about getting him there on the line as he's a horse that needs to be produced late and Aidan was telling me he has a lot of ability. I'm not going there with just a ride, I'm going there with a live chance."

Fallon's biggest worry is perhaps over his own fitness. He gave up his final three rides at Doncaster yesterday afternoon after feeling unwell but is expected to be fighting fit today.

While many believe St Nicholas Abbey simply has to turn up to win, Fallon is not of that opinion and feels the hot favourite has plenty of obstacles to overcome. "I don't think any Guineas is really a cakewalk," the jockey added. "Sea The Stars was highly impressive last year and before that you go back to Zafonic and I was on King's Best and George Washington, but this year I think it could be a bit different.

"I know St Nicholas Abbey is a real good horse and he made the field look very ordinary when he won the Racing Post Trophy in soft ground. But it's going to be a big field and there is a question about where the pace is going to come from."

O'Brien is confident would-be superstar St Nicholas Abbey is fit enough to do himself justice and is also pleased with Viscount Nelson and Fencing Master's progress. "St Nicholas Abbey seems to be in good form, his preparation has gone well and he has thrived through the winter," said the trainer.

Mark Johnston is searching for his second win in the race following the success of Mister Baileys 16 years ago.

This season he saddles the diminutive Awzaan, winner of last season's Middle Park Stakes, and Greyfriarschorista, one of the outsiders for the contest. "I am happy with them and both horses are in good form," said Johnston.

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Richard Hannon's pair Canford Cliffs and Dick Turpin face each other again. Canford Cliffs was a short-priced favourite in the Greenham Stakes at Newbury but was caught by his stablemate and his stamina has been questioned.

Tomorrow is the turn of the fillies and Seta's trainer Luca Cumani admits it is anyone's guess whether his filly will be the one to emerge triumphant in the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket. "She is in very good form and has done well over the winter," said Cumani. "It was always the plan to go to the race without a run this year. It's a wide open race, I wouldn't know which one is going to win it, that's why we are running – to find out."

In a weekend of Classics, Jeremy Noseda saddles his first Kentucky Derby winner with Awesome Act tonight at Churchill Downs.