Racing: Stravinsky is Guineas favourite

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THOSE WHO scoffed 12 months ago when King Of Kings was made clear favourite for the 2,000 Guineas after just a maiden-race win were yesterday given another once-raced Aidan O'Brien-trained two-year-old to mull over at the head of the classic betting.

Stravinsky was sent off 11-8 on favourite for the Moorestyle Convivial Maiden Stakes at York and had his 2,000 Guineas odds slashed to 5-1 after he overcame trouble in running to finish well on top and beat Munjiz by two lengths. Michael Kinane's mount was travelling strongly on the rails throughout the six-furlong contest but saw no daylight until pace-setter Munjiz hung left towards the centre of the track in the final furlong. Once the gap arrived, there was never any doubt about Stravinsky's superiority.

"He's explosive, isn't he?" said O'Brien afterwards. "He has that extra gear and he's so well-made. He's in all the big races including the Champagne [at Doncaster] but we'll have a think about his next race."

The son of Nureyev is owned by Michael Tabor whose colours were carried to victory in the 2,000 Guineas in 1997 by Entrepreneur and who was also part-owner of King Of Kings. Stravinsky is now a 5-1 chance with Ladbrokes and William Hill to follow in their footsteps on the Rowley Mile. Coral are scarcely any more generous, offering 6-1.

When told that Stravinsky was 5-1 for the 2000 Guineas, O'Brien grinned: "That's a good price isn't it?"

Irish bookmaker Sean Graham, who cut Stravinsky to 6-1 from 14-1 for the Guineas, revealed that the colt had already been backed with him at 20-1 and added: "I was really impressed with Stravinsky and it will take something special to beat him."