Racing: Salford City can lift Guineas to lighten Elsworth's gloom

It is a relatively spindly gathering for such an old and generous prize, but when the field for the opening Classic of the season, the 2,000 Guineas, sets off at Newmarket this afternoon it will number just 14, the smallest collection since 1996.

It is a relatively spindly gathering for such an old and generous prize, but when the field for the opening Classic of the season, the 2,000 Guineas, sets off at Newmarket this afternoon it will number just 14, the smallest collection since 1996.

You might think the runners would stay together, huddled for company in such circumstances, but the strong suspicion, with the stalls placed in the centre of the course, is that the field will split into two. Hard luck stories are waiting to be penned.

David Elsworth has produced a best-seller in that department this week and if there is to be divergence down the Rowley Mile today he hopes it will also include his luck.

Three days after Persian Punch's death at Ascot, the trainer can at least concentrate his mind on one of the few treasures to have eluded him in a gilded career: a British Classic.

Salford City is not a nominally regal racehorse, but, like Persian Punch, there is something majestic about his attitude, perhaps one derived from his unbeaten record. He has run just twice, both times at Newbury, both times in stunning victory.

"When they go on a racecourse sometimes a side of them you've never seen before appears," Elsworth says, "but this horse took his debut in his stride and won by seven lengths in a canter. He walked back to the winners' enclosure and wouldn't have blown a candle out. By the time the presentation was finished he was dry.

"He never got out of second gear then and he was most authoritative when he went back for the Greenham. He only had to be picked up for 100 yards so he was only racing for a furlong.

"He's got a great deal of confidence because he doesn't know what it's like to come off second best in a confrontation. He's always won. He's never been put under any stress and that's given him that confidence."

Now another peak appears for the bold climber as the best young milers in Europe gather to do battle. One Cool Cat is, and has been for some time, the favourite, from the moment he was identified as the principal contestant from Aidan O'Brien's yard. The colt has won four races, but beaten little, and his supporters are punting on connections as much as the horse.

Haafhd is also high up the lists, almost solely on the evidence of his runaway success in the Craven Stakes over course and distance. Barry Hills's colt was dealt the best hand that day and will not be allowed to dominate so completely this time. The ground, which will probably be on the soft side of good, is unlikely to be an ally either.

Snow Ridge is the Godolphin head man, the colt which scooted in by 10 lengths in the desert trial at Nad Al Sheba. That form is still being analysed at a top laboratory amid the general view that if Snow Ridge is to win a Classic it might be the one where they have a funfair.

More persuasive are the qualifications of the French horse, the one with the identity crisis as his name seems to suggest he thinks he is the jockey. Whipper, who won the Prix Morny last season, will go on the ground and has already scooped up the Prix Djebel on his reappearance at Maisons-Laffitte.

Yet this is a Guineas when benign forces can come into play. Salford City (nap 2.55) would be past the post if a popular vote was the criterion. His form and aptitude for the task are barely less substantial.

The ones to ignore in tomorrow's 1,000 Guineas are Attraction and Majestic Desert. The former has been injured and this will be her first and last race over a mile, while Majestic Desert was the beneficiary of an optical illusion in her trial, the Fred Darling Stakes. She battled well, admittedly, but her time was without merit.

Red Bloom is clear favourite even though she went through an injury scare earlier this week. Punters will remember the dark words which surrounded her stablemate Russian Rhythm 12 months ago before she pounced on this race.

The sensible bet though is Sundrop (2.40), who was just over a length behind Red Bloom in the Fillies' Mile at Ascot last autumn after a stormy passage. She is bred more than stoutly enough for a trip which will take some getting and represents the value at four times the price.

The Americans stage what they consider an event of unsurpassable consequence this evening, when a garland of roses awaits the winner of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. It is recognised to be one of the most open Derbys in years, but the advantage seems to lie with The Cliff's Edge (11.04) who has an edge of his own in form and stalls position.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave long-running series
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Arts and Entertainment
Gregory Porter learnt about his father’s voice at his funeral
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Life and Style
Children at the Leytonstone branch of the Homeless Children's Aid and Adoption Society tuck into their harvest festival gifts, in October 1936
food + drinkThe harvest festival is back, but forget cans of tuna and packets of instant mash
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Volunteer Trustee opportunities now available at The Society for Experimental Biology

Unpaid Voluntary Position : Reach Volunteering: Volunteer your expertise as Tr...

Early Years Educator

£68 - £73 per day + Competitive rates of pay based on experience: Randstad Edu...

Nursery Nurse

£69 - £73 per day + Competitive London rates of pay: Randstad Education Group:...

Primary KS1 NQTs required in Lambeth

£117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates: Randstad Education Group: * Pr...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam