Racing: Bionic weak in betting for Guineas

OPPOSITION TO Bionic, initially made favourite for the 1,000 Guineas after the death of Bint Allayl, has resulted in William Hill pushing the Henry Cecil-trained filly out to 9-1 from 6-1 for the first fillies' Classic.

The daughter of Zafonic's preparation for the Guineas has been held up by a corn on one of her feet, but the Warren Place trainer hopes she will resume cantering next week.

In the face of support for her rivals, Bionic has been usurped at the head of the betting by Criquette Head's Moiava.

William Hill's spokesman, David Hood, said: "Over the last 48 hours we have had support for Moiava, Etizaaz, Mother Of Pearl, Saytarra, Calando and Sunspangled. We haven't had a bean for Bionic and she is virtually double the price she was before Christmas."

Bint Allayl's former stable-companion, the 2,000 Guineas hope Josr Algarhoud, has also suffered a setback. The Gimcrack Stakes winner, who left Mick Channon to join Godolphin in Dubai, has been quoted as short as 14-1 for the Newmarket Classic by William Hill.

The long-time favourite for the 2,000, Godolphin's Aljabr, remains on course for the Kentucky Derby instead of Newmarket. "He'll be entered in the Guineas," said Simon Crisford, Godolphin's racing manager, "but, providing he can show he handles dirt, he'll be aimed at the Kentucky Derby."

Another horse that may switch targets is Terry Casey's Even Flow who was among the favourites for Saturday's Racing Post Chase but could bypass Kempton for Haydock. The gelding had been backed from 10-1 to half those odds for the Kempton race.

In addition to the Haydock race being less competitive, Casey is attracted north by the prospect of softer ground. "I don't know why he has been backed for Kempton," Casey said, "that is beyond me."

The Racing Post Chase hopes Dr Leunt and Unguided Missile headed 23 withdrawals yesterday at the first forfeit stage for the Grand National, leaving 80 entries. Others removed include Banjo and the injured Cyfor Malta.

A surprise absentee from the Champion Hurdle is Wahiba Sands, co-third favourite at 20-1 with Ladbrokes. There were 24 acceptors for the race yesterday and other notable withdrawals include the Micky Hammond-trained Deep Water and Nicky Henderson's Sharpical (both 50-1 with Ladbrokes).

There were no shocks in the declarations for the Cheltenham Gold Cup, in which 27 horses stand their ground, but Kurakka has been removed from the Arkle Chase and Marlborough from the Royal & SunAlliance Novices' Chase.

1,000 GUINEAS (Newmarket, 2 May): William Hill: 7-1 Moiava, 9-1 Bionic (from 6-1) & Etizaaz, 10-1 Mother Of Pearl, 12-1 Crystal Charm & Saytarra, 14-1 Calando (from 16-1), 16-1 Sunspangled (from 20-1), 20-1 Edabiya & Kareymah, 25-1 others

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