Kingman to stake claim as John Gosden's heir apparent

 

Summer's last will and testament was signed off on the July Course at Newmarket last weekend at the end of a dank afternoon with a performance by McFly. Autumn and the purer fare of the Rowley Mile, for all the controversial changes to the calendar, are nigh, with a new Classic generation rising.

But before the traditional juvenile Classic trials are crammed into two weekends at Newmarket, the first in just a month's time, the most exciting British-based two-year-old is set to take the slightly unorthodox route of the Group Three Solario Stakes at Sandown on Saturday. Kingman is already favourite for next year's 2,000 Guineas, ahead of Aidan O'Brien's War Command and several of his Ballydoyle stablemates, on the strength of a six-length victory on the July Course gained in a singularly fast time – earning the kind of debut speed figure associated with a Lammtarra or Dubai Millennium. While some two-year-old maidens run at Newmarket this summer may have had greater potential strength in depth, the style of victory was striking and the second and third won next time out.

The name of Frankel, who carried the same Khalid Abdullah silks, was invoked after that performance, but for now a safer comparison might be to the same trainer's crack miler Raven's Pass, who won the Solario Stakes for Kingman's trainer, John Gosden, in 2007, in the fastest time for that race in many a year.

The season may already be over for the American prodigy No Nay Never, winner of the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Group One Prix Morny at Deauville, and connections are looking beyond next season's Classics to a return to Royal Ascot for the mile St James's Palace Stakes.

His trainer, Wesley Ward, who has made a speciality of raiding the meeting, said: "He has done quite a bit already this year and I would hate to push the envelope with him. At the moment we are thinking of the St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot next year and working backwards from there. That might seem a long way off, but, in the great scheme of things, next year actually isn't all that far away and I have had success previously when you have a target in your mind. In all three of his races he has kept running. He hasn't been holding on at the end and I think a mile is 100 per cent within his reach."

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