Nostalgics will be gratified not only by an air of renewed relevance to the week of Classic trials that concluded at Newbury on Saturday, but also by the identity of those responsible.
Sir Henry Cecil, ostensibly bereft without Frankel, came up with a luminous new talent in Hot Snap; and another cherished old master, Richard Hannon, now finds himself supervising leading fancies not only for the two imminent Classics at Newmarket but also for the Investec Derby itself.
Whether the flowing feet of Toronado can sustain him over the extra distance at Epsom is a question for another day, Richard Hughes having joined Hannon in the aggrieved admission that he has never been associated with a champion over a mile and a half. For now it remains fitting that trainer and jockey should be claiming such a pivotal role in both Guineas, with horses that reiterate the stable's trademark ability to inject class into middle-market pedigrees.
Toronado was so authoritative in the Craven Stakes, over the same course and distance he must cover in the Qipco 2,000 Guineas on Saturday week, that Hannon is happy to divert Olympic Glory to the French version after his success in the Greenham. After all, both colts are nowadays in the same ownership.
But he does not have that luxury with Maureen, who won the Fred Darling on the same card, and now offers Hughes a tempting Qipco 1,000 Guineas alternative to Sky Lantern. The latter shaped well in the Nell Gwyn, albeit without being able to stem the startling assault of Hot Snap, and Hughes will defer his choice until gaining a better idea of the going.
"Sky Lantern wants it like a road," he said. "And Maureen loves it soft – so we'll have to see who gets lucky at Newmarket." Maureen certainly showcased her rider's talents on Saturday, settled beautifully and delivered late to exploit an unsurprising want of stamina in Rosdhu Queen.
Having given a dirty scope after disappointing behind that filly in the Cheveley Park, Maureen has otherwise exuded class in all she has done. With every right to see out the extra furlong in the Guineas, she looks pretty fair value at 14-1.
"She is not there in her coat yet, so there is more improvement to come," Hannon said. "But obviously Hughesie will [again] have to adopt exaggerated waiting tactics if she is to get the mile at Newmarket."
The Greenham, meanwhile, proved a curious race. Olympic Glory remains unbeaten by all comers bar Dawn Approach himself, and produced another highly professional display. It was disappointing, even so, to see Moohaajim flatten out in third after travelling so well.
On the face of it, he did not see out the seventh furlong, but that would be a surprise. Marco Botti wonders whether he found conditions a little too dead. Perhaps the colt simply needed the run.
After all, horses beaten in the Newbury trials have often come up with radical improvement in the Guineas. Moohaajim has been quickly written off, at 25-1, but that could yet prove premature.
CHRIS McGRATH'S NAP: Intrigo (4.20 Kempton)
Has progressed well from a low base in maidens, winning both handicap starts and looking equal to his revised mark.
NEXT BEST: Frontier Fighter (4.40 Pontefract)
Contributed well to his trainer's prolific all-weather campaign, and is unexposed for this switch to turf.
ONE TO WATCH: Lightly raced Baccarat (Richard Fahey) shared a dead heat with a thriving rival at Ripon last week, the pair a long way clear.
WHERE THE MONEY'S GOING: Hot Snap is 7-2 from 4-1 with William Hill for the 1,000 Guineas. Garswood is 20-1 from 25-1 for the 2,000.
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