Infallible proof of Gosden's powerful hand

Rather than Verona, perhaps "the uncertain glory of an April day" should have been recognised by Two Gentlemen of Newmarket. The tentative rehearsals staged at this meeting have always sent punters scurrying between sunny optimism and squalls of disappointment. And it is harder than ever to be adamant about what you witness here, now that so many trainers send horses straight to the Guineas. But neither events yesterday, nor prospects today, permit the slightest ambiguity about the central character in what remains a defining prologue to the weeks ahead.

Having won the final Classic of last season, John Gosden now finds himself with the leading British candidates for the first two of the new one. After looking pretty well named in her trial here yesterday, Infallible made the short journey back into town as Coral's 3-1 favourite for the Stan James 1,000 Guineas. And this afternoon Gosden brings Raven's Pass up the same road as the colt to beat in the Bansha House Stables Craven Stakes, his dry run for the 2,000 Guineas.

Whether measured in feet and inches or cerebration, Gosden is one of the commanding figures of the British Turf. In all he won four races yesterday, laying down his marker in the opener with an unraced colt named Pampas Cat. Gosden thinks enough of him to be thinking of the Chester Vase, but noted that "he'd be as fit as any we're running – 95 per cent, as opposed to 80 per cent for most of the rest".

And he left no doubt that Raven's Pass falls squarely in the latter category. "He needs a race to settle him down," Gosden said. "In fact he needs a race to settle the trainer down. He is just a little too fresh and well, a little ebullient. It's not his D-Day. That's not to say he'll be pussy-footing around, he's there to do his best, but he hasn't been trained for tomorrow's race."

Last September Raven's Pass produced an eye-watering performance in the Solario Stakes at Sandown, beating City Leader by seven lengths. The runner-up came out and won the Royal Lodge Stakes next time, while Raven's Pass himself travelled with intimidating ease before just flattening into third behind New Approach in the Dewhurst Stakes here in the autumn.

It is thought that the softish ground might just have blunted his speed that day, but it does remain conceivable that an eighth furlong will have the same effect today – especially if, as Gosden warns, he proves somewhat edgy and energetic on his reappearance.

Stamina is hardly an issue for Twice Over, who won over 10 furlongs here last autumn. His galloping companion, Kandahar Run, was beaten here yesterday by Campanologist – one wag hazarded that the winner had to be "a ringer" – but it remains impossible to know the limits of Twice Over's potential.

Those who have backed him for the Vodafone Derby might almost prefer to see him just fail for speed in a race like this. If the prize does happen to fall between two stools, then River Proud, for whom this might well prove D-Day, could take advantage.

Sometimes, of course, it is best just to keep it simple. After only surfacing at the final meeting here last season, Infallible might well have been deemed too inexperienced to win the Leslie Harrison Nell Gwyn Stakes after missing the break. But her raw ability is such that she passed every other filly in the race without feeling the whip, the only reservations being their general lack of distinction and her rather naïve drift towards the far rail.

"But then she's still quite babyish," Gosden observed. "She just got left today and was looking and learning. She's not very experienced to be going for the Guineas, and she'll have to be damned good to take on that French filly [Natagora]. But she's a fine, strong filly and will come on for this."

Either way, Infallible reinforces the future prospects of that heroic bastion of British breeding, Cheveley Park Stud, already formidably represented in the 1,000 Guineas by Spacious. Infallible is their latest home-bred star by Pivotal, but by no means their last, judging from the taking success of Virtual in the Alex Scott Maiden. "He has strengthened over the winter and another furlong will definitely suit," Gosden said. "We'll take our time, but he's in the [2,000] Guineas."

The desperate margin of Stimulation's success in the European Free Handicap, a trial of only sporadic relevance in recent years, suggests that he will feature only as an outsider in that race – albeit he will merit respect as Hughie Morrison's first Classic runner. Last season the same trainer won the handicap at the end of the card with no less a sprinter than Sakhee's Secret, but this time proceedings were book-ended by Gosden with Prohibit. This was one of those days when Jimmy Fortune, his stable jockey, looked as good as any in the business, but both men are too experienced to get carried away. "Enjoy it while it lasts," Gosden counselled, but perhaps as many as four swallows might yet make a summer.

1,000 GUINEAS (4 May) Coral: 3-1 (from 14-1) Infallible, 4-1 Natagora, 6-1 Muthabara, 7-1 Spacious, 10-1 Savethisdanceforme, Kitty Matcham, 12-1 Laureldean Gale, Nahoodh, Cape Amber, 16-1 Lush Lashes, Visit, 25-1 Chinese White, Elletelle, Halfway To Heaven, Mad About You, Saoirse Abu, Screen Star.

News
Ben Little, right, is a Labour supporter while Jonathan Rogers supports the Green Party
general election 2015
News
The 91st Hakone Ekiden Qualifier at Showa Kinen Park, Tokyo, 2014
news
Life and Style
Former helicopter pilot Major Tim Peake will become the first UK astronaut in space for over 20 years
food + drinkNothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
News
Kim Wilde began gardening in the 1990s when she moved to the countryside
peopleThe singer is leading an appeal for the charity Thrive, which uses the therapy of horticulture
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring a second for Arsenal against Reading
football
Life and Style
health
Voices
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
news
Life and Style
Buyers of secondhand cars are searching out shades last seen in cop show ‘The Sweeney’
motoringFlares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own