Nine line up for Greenham test…
Newbury on Saturday will host the highly anticipated return for several Classic contenders when nine runners line up for the Group 3 AON Greenham Stakes.
The market is headed by Ivawood for Richard Hannon who took the Richmond Stakes and the July Stakes last term and steps up in trip for an acid test against key rivals for the top races this season. Roger Varian saddles the highly impressive Dewhurst winner of last season Belardo in opposition and has reported all to be well with his charge in the build up to the key trail for the 2000 Guineas.
Paul Hanagan will be aboard the Champagne Stakes and Superlative Stakes winner Estidhkaar who was disappointing behind Belardo at Newmarket when sent of favourite for that Group 1 contest and there are also high hopes for the same owners’ Fannaan and Muhaarar on seasonal returns.
Ryan Moore will continue his role as number one to Aidan O’Brien when sitting up top on Dick Whittingdon whilst their is a very big reputation being tested on the track with Kevin Ryan’s Flaming Spear who impressed in a York maiden on sole start at two years old. David Redvers of Qatar Racing was quoted on RacingFM before the turn of the year as considering Flaming Spear ” the best we have in training ” which highlights their strong belief in the three year old who will need to overcome a lack of experience against hardier rivals.
Code Red and Toocoolforshcool complete the line up and the scene is set for a big shake up in the classic picture.
Richard Hughes has the ride on Ivawood who will surely go off favourite and is oozing confidence.
“He’s my idea of my best chance of winning the 2000 Guineas and I’ll be surprised if he is beaten. There’s a bit of a doubt about him getting the mile at Newmarket, but he’s not short of speed and compares well to the good horses I have ridden before in the race.
“He’s not quite come in his coat, yet, but he’s getting there. I’d like to think he’ll improve for the race, although he’s fit enough to win.”
Also on the card the fillies’ equivalent of the AON Greenham Stakes is the £60,000 Group Three Dubai Duty Free Stakes (2.15pm, 13 runners), also over seven furlongs.
Trainer Ralph Beckett is bidding for a third victory in six years and fourth in all with Redstart (Pat Dobbs), who was last seen out when taking a seven-furlong maiden at Kempton Park in November. Beckett, who took the spoils with Moonstone Magic (2012), Puff (2010) and Penkenna Princess (2005), said: “Redstart is training well and looks well. She is a very different type to our previous winners. Puff was a tough, precocious two-year-old and Moonstone Magic came in on the back of a debut win eight days earlier. Penkenna Princess was also a good two-year-old.
“Redstart had two runs last year and then we put her away. It is a big step up and will tell us where we are with her, but she has shown up well in her work and we think it is worth a shot.”
Redstart’s 12 opponents are headed by joint Champion Two-Year-Old Filly Tiggy Wiggy (Richard Hannon/Richard Hughes), successful on six of her eight starts last term culminating with a comfortable success in the Group One Cheveley Park Stakes in September, and highly-regarded maiden scorer Jellicle Ball (John Gosden/Ryan Moore).
Russian Punch (James Given/Graham Lee) landed a Listed prize over the course and distance in October, while Royal Razalma (Jonathan Portman/Richard Kingscote) ended the campaign with victory in the Group Three Cornwallis Stakes over five furlongs at Newmarket.
The older horses take centre stage in the £60,000 Group Three Dubai Duty Free Finest Surprise Stakes (1.45pm, eight runners) over 12 furlongs. Romsdal (John Gosden/James Doyle) ended last season with a second to Kingston Hill in the St Leger and made a winning return to action in the 10-furlong Listed Magnolia Stakes at Kempton Park on March 28.
Champion trainer Richard Hannon is doubly represented through Pether’s Moon (Pat Dobbs), who shoulders a 5lb penalty for a Group Two triumph in Turkey in September, and St Leger fourth Windshear (Richard Hughes).
Arab Spring (Sir Michael Stoute/Ryan Moore) impressed in winning the Duke Of Edinburgh Handicap at Royal Ascot last season and is having his first outing since disappointing in the Group Two Princess Of Wales’s Stakes at Newmarket’s July meeting.
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