Hot Snap win warms Sir Henry Cecil's prospects for 1,000 Guineas

 

Newmarket

This strange, comfortless spring can have stretched before few trainers as bleakly as for Sir Henry Cecil, who must continue his fight against illness without the champion who lent him such succour over the last three years. Already, however, he has nurtured a fresh bloom of hope. The flowering here of Hot Snap was so abrupt – and so spectacular – that it warmed not just Cecil, but every fan of Flat racing, as a first down payment of the summer to come.

Halfway through the Lanwades Stud Nell Gwyn Stakes, Hot Snap was stone last and struggling. It made sense. She was still green, having made only one start on the all-weather last year; as a half-sister to Midday, moreover, she was perfectly entitled to resent this drop back to seven furlongs. The eye was instead drawn to Sky Lantern, full of running as Richard Hughes waited for a gap. As they approached the dip, the favourite swept through to lay down what looked like a persuasive marker for the Qipco 1,000 Guineas.

But what was this? Here was Hot Snap, suddenly hastening through the gears. She came bounding between Sky Lantern and the rail and opened up by just over two lengths, despite betraying her inexperience with a nervous jink as the bare horizon opened before her.

One or two bookmakers were sufficiently drowsy to offer 10-1 for the Guineas, but those odds had generally halved by the time they digested Cecil's prediction of significant improvement over the next 17 days.

"She's not there yet, but she is a big, promising filly," he whispered, his voice weakened not by his latest course of treatment but by an infection. "She only started to come to herself last week, and has only been on the grass once this year. The idea was to give her a bit of time to find her feet. She's coming on, and will be much better in three weeks' time. And she wants a mile."

Though Cecil added that Hot Snap could be a Royal Ascot filly if the Guineas came too soon, her owner's racing manager indicated that she would be given every opportunity to go for a Classic her trainer has already won six times.

This evidence that Cecil's resurgence can outlast Frankel was not the only source of gratification on a card that renewed the good old days of this meeting. Nowadays many trainers prefer to send horses straight to the Guineas – only four colts contest the Novae Insurance Craven Stakes today – and it is certainly a long time since the CSP European Free Handicap could be sensibly exalted as an authentic Classic trial. The last winner to follow up in the 2,000 Guineas was Mystiko, in 1991, albeit Harayir did win the 1,000 after finishing second in 1995. It might prove hasty, however, to dismiss the claims of Garswood after he tanked through the race and then hurtled clear of the race-fit Emell.

It was his first experiment with a seventh furlong and Richard Fahey believes him ready for an eighth in the 2,000 Guineas, where there will be worse 25-1 shots. "That's a big relief," Fahey said. "He's been doing that to all my better horses at home. We've nothing that can go with him. He's the best we've got this season by a long way."

Garswood had managed only one win in four starts at two but Fahey felt him to be merely naïve. "That's why I dropped him to five, just to teach him to race," he said. "He was always going to be a stronger horse this year, and he's now so laid back you could take him out hunting."

The return of racing to the Rowley Mile was further dignified by a visit from André Fabre, who saddled Intello to extend his unbeaten record to three in the EBM-Papst Feilden Stakes. Always moving smoothly, the Galileo colt saw things out strongly by three lengths. Though Fabre indicated that Intello's Classic ambitions might remain closer to home, in the Prix du Jockey-Club, the Investec Derby could yet be on the agenda for Ocovango. He heads for the Prix Greffulhe at Longchamp on 4 May – the same trial Fabre used for Pour Moi, before he won at Epsom two years ago.

Turf account

Chris McGrath's Nap

Sandy Lane (4.30 Ripon) Miles ahead of the game judged on a runaway success on his first start for David O'Meara last week.

Next best

Greatwood (2.55 Newmarket) Capable of much better now that he steps up in trip, and trainer would need a good reason to forfeit a dangerous handicap mark.

One to watch

Kiwi Bay (Michael Dods) Continues to edge down the weights and again had his stamina stretched at Doncaster on Saturday.

Where the money's going

Mars is 8-1 from 14-1 with William Hill for the Qipco 2,000 Guineas.

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Life and Style
food + drink
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas