Racing: Iceman has surface to put Guineas rivals in cold

There has been just one word, one name, whistling around Newmarket this week between the racecourse and the clock tower. If Dubawi does not win the 2,000 Guineas down the long Rowley Mile this afternoon there are going to be some even longer faces streaming away from Britain's oldest battleground for racehorses.

There has been just one word, one name, whistling around Newmarket this week between the racecourse and the clock tower. If Dubawi does not win the 2,000 Guineas down the long Rowley Mile this afternoon there are going to be some even longer faces streaming away from Britain's oldest battleground for racehorses.

They have been racing here - the course where there is no hiding place, physically or metaphorically - for three and a half centuries now and, during that time, the two Guineas races have evolved most slowly. The greatest change, as elsewhere, has come in the last few years and much of it has been to the traditionalists' chagrin.

The 2,000 Guineas used to be a glittering trophy in its own right, but the expansion of sport on the turf and the emphasis on greater prizes later in the season have diluted its influence. It was almost painful to stand in the Ballydoyle courtyard earlier this week and listen to Aidan O'Brien detailing how his two horses would come on for the Classic at the beginning of an anticipated long campaign. He made the Guineas sound dangerously close to a prep race.

Another modern phenomenon has been the arrival of the Godolphin horses at this meeting, fresh from the winter sun of Dubai. They always look the business on the blasted heath and occasionally they run like it too. Dubawi aims to be the third 2,000 Guineas winner for the boys in blue following Mark Of Esteem (1996) and Island Sands (1999).

On the plus side, the son of the short-lived Dubai Millennium is unbeaten and has already won a Group One race, the National Stakes at the Curragh. He may even start at odds-on on the back of a private trial at Nad Al Sheba, which impressed the locals but could not have the official trumpeters of form in great fanfare. And Dubawi's price itself may be a historical ball and chain around one of his shapely ankles. The Godolphin colt is set to go off the shortest-priced favourite since Xaar was beaten when odds-on in 1988, while only one favourite - Zafonic in 1993 - has been successful in the last 15 years.

More and more the Guineas becomes what the Americans call a crapshoot, an indecipherable conundrum between immature horses. No matter what Dubawi's credentials, he cannot be supported at his current price.

The Ballydoyle representatives are strangely unfancied in the betting. Kieren Fallon has selected Footstepsinthesand, but might even have got his two-horse race wrong, as stablemate Oratorio, who does not show much at home, is far more prominent in the form book.

The suggestion in Ireland this week was that if Fallon had a choice of the entire field he would probably select Rob Roy, a colt trained by an old confederate in Michael Stoute. The jockey was impressed by Rob Roy's running-on effort in the Craven Stakes and we must all be impressed by Stoute's 2,000 Guineas record - five wins, including three of the last nine.

Yet if you like Rob Roy there must also be a place in the heart for ICEMAN (nap 3.15). John Gosden's colt was another of the quartet which tried to dive into the same mousehole in the closing stages of the Craven and he was giving Rob Roy 3lb.

In advance of the Craven, Gosden seemed to be suggesting that Iceman was so short of work that it came as a surprise to see him emerging on the day without a double chin. The little horse battled that afternoon, much as he had done throughout a full juvenile season, during which today's forecast firm going brought the best out of him.

"There's no doubt he's a superior horse on fast ground," Gosden said yesterday. "He won the Coventry on good to firm and he was second giving 5lb to Etlaala on fast ground at Doncaster. When he came down for the Middle Park it was soft and for the Dewhurst it was, sadly, deplorable ground and he's not happy in that.

"He's come out of the Craven well. I'm sure some others have too. He finished well in the race and has worked pleasingly since. As long as they don't get too much rain at Newmarket he should run a big race."

The 1,000 Guineas was eviscerated earlier this week when the winter favourite, Damson, was removed from consideration. There does not seem to be much outstanding left.

In the circumstances a shock result could emanate, and the best qualified among the outsiders and a filly who would be a a lot shorter price in the hands of different connections is the Fred Darling Stakes winner, Penkenna Princess (3.25).

Sport
Alexis Sanchez has completed a £35m move to Arsenal, the club have confirmed
sportGunners complete £35m signing of Barcelona forward
Voices
Poor teachers should be fearful of not getting pay rises or losing their job if they fail to perform, Steve Fairclough, headteacher of Abbotsholme School, suggested
voicesChris Sloggett explains why it has become an impossible career path
Sport
world cup 2014
Sport
Ray Whelan was arrested earlier this week
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
In a minor key: Keira Knightley in the lightweight 'Begin Again'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Celebrated children’s author Allan Ahlberg, best known for Each Peach Pear Plum
books
News
peopleIndian actress known as the 'Grand Old Lady of Bollywood' was 102
News
Wayne’s estate faces a claim for alleged copyright breaches
newsJohn Wayne's heirs duke it out with university over use of the late film star's nickname
Life and Style
It beggars belief: the homeless and hungry are weary, tortured, ghosts of people – with bodies contorted by imperceptible pain
lifeRough sleepers exist in every city. Hear the stories of those whose luck has run out
News
Mick Jagger performing at Glastonbury
people
Life and Style
fashionJ Crew introduces triple zero size to meet the Asia market demand
Sport
Santi Cazorla, Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini of Arsenal launch the new Puma Arsenal kits at the Puma Store on Carnaby Street
sportMassive deal worth £150m over the next five years
Arts and Entertainment
Welsh opera singer Katherine Jenkins
musicHolyrood MPs 'staggered' at lack of Scottish artists performing
Life and Style
beautyBelgian fan lands L'Oreal campaign after being spotted at World Cup
Arts and Entertainment
Currently there is nothing to prevent all-male or all-female couples from competing against mixed sex partners at any of the country’s ballroom dancing events
Potential ban on same-sex partners in ballroom dancing competitions amounts to 'illegal discrimination'
News
business
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Business Analyst Consultant (Financial Services)

£60000 - £75000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Business Analyst Consultant (Fina...

Systems Administrator - Linux / Unix / Windows / TCP/IP / SAN

£60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A leading provider in investment managemen...

AVS, JVS Openlink Endur Developer

£600 - £700 per day: Harrington Starr: AVS, JVS Openlink Endur Developer JVS, ...

E-Commerce Developer

£45000 - £60000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Exciting opp...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice