Monday 24 October 2016

2000 Guineas: Balding team will make late call on Elm Park participation

Elm Park (Andrea Atzeni,right) works after racing with a stable mate
Elm Park (Andrea Atzeni,right) works after racing with a stable mate

Andrew Balding will make a late call on Elm Park’s participation in Saturday’s Qipco 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.

Unless sufficient rain falls before the race, last season’s Racing Post Trophy winner is an unlikely runner with the Betfred Dante Stakes at York on May 14 an alternative option.

“We’ve declared but we’ve always viewed him as our Derby horse and it would be silly to ruin his chance in that. We’re unlikely to ever get a better shot at the Derby than we do with him,” said David Redvers, racing manager for Sheikh Fahad’s Qatar Racing operation.

“I saw him do his last piece of work yesterday morning and he looked magnificent but there’s no way Andrew will want to jar him up. Andrew will walk the course after the first race, but it doesn’t look as if the rain will arrive in time. The likelihood is he will head for the Dante and then the Derby.”

A total of 19 colts have been declared for the first Classic of the season, headed by ante-post favourite Gleneagles, who is one of two Aidan O’Brien-trained runners along with Ol’ Man River. Richard Hannon has declared four in the race with Greenham second and third Estidhkaar and Ivawood set to be joined by Craven winner and third Kool Kompany and Moheet.

Roger Varian runs Intilaaq while Godolphin field the Andre Fabre-trained Territories.

There will also be a second French-trained runner as Freddy Head sends Ride Like The Wind to Newmarket following his Prix Djebel success.

Godolphin did not declare Maftool or Varian’s Belardo, with both sidestepping the race in favour of the French equivalent.

Maftool’s absence allows James Doyle to maintain his association on Home Of The Brave, having won the European Free Handicap aboard Hugo Palmer’s charge earlier this month.

Mark Prescott runs Celestial Path with Bossy Guest, Capella Sansevero, Code Red, Dutch Connection, Glenalmond, Hail The Hero and Room Key completing the line-up.

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