Racing: Hannon finds a Classic marker: Clues collected from a Guineas trial at Newmarket point to a colt who has yet to have his abilities tested on the track this season - Sport - The Independent

Racing: Hannon finds a Classic marker: Clues collected from a Guineas trial at Newmarket point to a colt who has yet to have his abilities tested on the track this season

IT WAS all winks and whispers after the Free Handicap here yesterday, but for those who stopped to draw some conclusions the messages were clear enough. Redoubtable may win the 2,000 Guineas. Unblest probably will not. And Lemon Souffle, favourite for the 1,000 Guineas throughout the winter, is far from certain even to line up for the season's first Classic a fortnight today.

The clues were offered by Richard Hannon, who saddled Bluegrass Prince to win the Free Handicap. On the surface, it was not a promising Classic trial, with the first five home separated by less than two lengths. Last of the quintet was Unblest, who started a firm favourite but found his path constantly blocked as George Duffield switched one way and then the other in the closing stages. Bluegrass Prince, meanwhile, appeared an unlikely winner entering the Dip, but Lanfranco Dettori roused the early leader to a second effort and got up in the final stride. Two heads separated him from Canaska Dancer and Selhurstpark Flyer.

Unblest was surely unlucky, but would not have won cosily had his route been marked out by traffic cones. Since Hannon predicted a future for the winner involving minor Pattern races in Germany and Italy, James Fanshawe's colt - said by his trainer to have been 'fairly ready' for yesterday's race - is likely to prove short of Classic standard. Coral left him at 16-1 for the Guineas, but Hills moved him from 14-1 to a more realistic 25-1.

At home in Marlborough, however, Hannon has a three- year-old who toys with Bluegrass Prince at morning exercise. His name is Redoubtable, and the trainer's optimism about his Guineas chance was obvious. But the colt needs a sound surface and, with most of the country's tracks riding soft at best, Redoubtable may go to post on 30 April without a prep race. 'He's a different horse on fast ground,' Hannon said. 'He's got to stay, but I think he will.'

The trainer was less encouraging about Lemon Souffle. She has recovered well from a serious injury sustained last September, but not from the gloomy spring weather. Hannon believes his string's body clocks are running two weeks slow, and Lemon Souffle has only now started to shed her winter coat. 'It's flying out of her, but I don't want to send her to the Guineas woolly,' Hannon said. 'Hopefully she'll be there.'

'Hopefully'? It was hardly a statement to launch an ante- post gamble, and Lemon Souffle was knocked out an ominous two points by William Hill. She is now a 7-1 chance for the Classic, behind Mehthaaf, Tuesday's impressive Nell Gwyn winner, at 11-4, and French challenger Coup De Genie at 6-1.

All in all, Newmarket was not the place to be yesterday for anyone seeking resounding predictions of Classic-winning intent. The opening maiden, often used by the big yards as a Guineas trial for an unexposed filly, was won by Michael Stoute's Zafaaf. Few spectators were more surprised than Stoute himself, though - 'I didn't expect her to win so smoothly, but it's a nice problem to have' - and Zafaaf is not entered for the Guineas. Henry Cecil's Cambrel, who finished third, does figure among the entries, but not for much longer judged on this performance.

Del Deya, a late-maturing four-year-old, is 12 months too late for the Guineas, but started to repay John Gosden's patience with a promising success in the nine-furlong Earl of Sefton Stakes. She should do better still over 10 or 12, while Airport, who completed a double for Gosden and a treble for Dettori in the Wood Ditton Stakes, is another who seems certain to win again, and often.

The race offered the day's final hint for the future. Gosden had pointed out earlier that the middle of the course was much faster than that by the rails. Lake Coniston, a 33-1 chance, made his own lonely way home on the far side in the Wood Ditton, finishing unplaced, but led the 19-runner field for much of the race. For anyone seeking a future winner, it was not so much a gentle nudge as a sharp jab in the ribs.

(Photograph omitted)

Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape
music
News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
filmMatt Damon in talks to return
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Life and Style
Bono and Apple CEO Tim Cook announced U2's surprise new album at the iPhone 6 launch
tech(but you can't escape: Bono is always on your iPhone)
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
Arts and Entertainment
Fringe show: 'Cilla', with Sheridan Smith in the title role and Aneurin Barnard as her future husband Bobby Willis
tvEllen E Jones on ITV's 'Cilla'
News
i100
Sport
Tim Wiese
sport
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Travel
travel
News
The ecological reconstruction of Ikrandraco avatar is shown in this illustration courtesy of Chuang Zhao. Scientists on September 11, 2014 announced the discovery of fossils in China of a type of flying reptile called a pterosaur that lived 120 millions years ago and so closely resembled those creatures from the 2009 film, Avatar that they named it after them.
SCIENCE
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Project Manager with some Agile experience

£45000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Chelmsf...

Data/ MI Analyst

£25000 - £30000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client are cur...

Secondary Supply Teachers to work in Peterborough

£110 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Cambridge: Supply teachers required fo...

Project Manager (retail, upgrades, rollouts)

£40000 - £45000 Per Annum + benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Project...

Day In a Page

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
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week