Racing: Classic case of clueless

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The Independent Online
ALL much the same and none much good. What else can be said about the contenders for the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket on 1 May after yesterday's Greenham Stakes at Newbury, in which Inchinor beat Sharp Prod and Tinners Way with the same lack of authority with which Emperor Jones had landed Thursday's Craven Stakes in a blanket finish, writes Ian Davies.

Son Pardo and Sharp Prod disputed the lead to halfway with Irish hope Basim, Firm Pledge, and Inchinor looking cosy, tucked in just behind. When the chips were down, two furlongs out, Basim and Firm Pledge failed to deliver the goods but Inchinor, still on the bit, came cruising up, looking all over the hero everyone had been holding out for.

But, Sharp Prod and his jockey Bruce Raymond were in no mood to be brushed aside, and to complicate matters further the maiden winner Tinners Way came with a late thrust too in the closing stages. Inchinor got up all right on the line, but this was nothing to write home about and no one was rushing to take the bookmakers' offer of 10-1 for the Guineas afterwards.

The layers obviously think this year's race is of dreadfully poor quality. For what other reason would they make Zafonic - a colt who beat his own pacemaker just a short-head when himself floored at odds of 1-10 in his trial, the Prix Djebel at Maisons-Laffite - 10-11 (Coral), 4-5 (Ladbrokes) and 8-11 (William Hill) for the 2,000?

Zafonic looks as mortal as the rest of them - and certainly no certainty.

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