Handicapper places Tobougg above Beckett

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The Independent Online

Tobougg, the Mick Channon-trained two-year-old who established himself as one of Europe's leading juveniles in winning the Group One Prix de la Salamandre at Longchamp on Saturday, has impressed both punters and the official handicapper.

Tobougg, the Mick Channon-trained two-year-old who established himself as one of Europe's leading juveniles in winning the Group One Prix de la Salamandre at Longchamp on Saturday, has impressed both punters and the official handicapper.

The colt was the subject of betting speculation with William Hill yesterday and is now the 10-1 second favourite, from 14-1, for next year's 2,000 Guineas behind one of Aidan O'Brien's many outstanding juveniles, the 8-1 chance Hemingway.

Matthew Tester, the British Horseracing Board's two-year-old handicapper, said: "Tobougg did it really nicely and after discussing the race with the Irish and French handicappers - an Irish horse was second and a French horse was third and another British horse was fourth - I've put him up to 118. He is only lightly raced and I would expect him to run to a higher mark next time."

Beckett's win in the National Stakes at the Curragh on Sunday also created a favourable impression with Tester, but he is rated 4lb inferior to Channon's colt. "Beckett looks a colt with a big future. It looked as though Down To The Woods [fourth behind Beckett] reproduced the form of his latest race so, after discussing it with the Irish handicapper, I've put Beckett on 114."

Tobougg, who is owned by Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum, Sheikh Mohammed's brother, is a strong candidate to join Godolphin over the winter. "The decision will be completely up to Sheikh Mohammed," Channon said yesterday.

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