Meehan seeing double for Classics

Manton trainer growing in confidence about Guineas and Derby favourites

Trainers always emphasise the exasperations of their calling, but to stand with Brian Meehan on the Manton gallops yesterday was to know why they should all be endured. The Wiltshire downs billowed away to horizons softened by the most immaculate morning of the spring so far; somewhere above, a skylark sang its own intoxication in a milky blue sky; underfoot, the fragrant turf was swathed in silver dew. And, finally, the crowning glory – the horses themselves.

Here came Crowded House, a glistening, leonine slab of chestnut muscle, favourite for the Derby, no less. He cantered past, suffused with vitality. Meehan lit a cigarette. Not so much to alleviate tension, seemingly, as to complete the moment. Next to rumble up the hill was Delegator, whose performance in the Craven Stakes at Newmarket last week made him the most eligible colt in Britain for the Stan James 2,000 Guineas, now just 11 days away. For now, at any rate, Meehan's seemed the best of all possible worlds.

Even Eden had its serpents, of course, and he turned round to face a small posse holding notepads and microphones. But even this had to be a good sign, evidence that Meehan, in his fourth season here, is producing horses commensurate with the scale and history of this sumptuous estate.

The Irishman does not seem abashed by his situation. In fact, his confidence in both his star colts verges on the reckless. "I was just glad to get the Craven out of the way, really," he said. "You can get beat in the Guineas, and still turn out a champion, but to be beaten in your trial would be hard to swallow. Saying that, I don't expect him to get beat in the Guineas, either. They didn't go that quick in the Craven. When he gets a stronger pace, you'll see the best of him. It'll be lovely to see him stretch."

He is no less intrepid in his hopes for Crowded House, who undergoes his own Classic rehearsal in the Totesport Dante Stakes at York next month. "I know I can't stand here and say they're both going to win Classics," Meehan said. "But they should both win Group One races this year, and maybe they'll win two, or three. I don't want to tempt fate. I'm just very confident. We've had some cracking horses, over the years. And I've spoken the same way before. Maybe people just weren't listening."

The name of Delegator certainly reached a lot of ears after his final gallop before the Craven, and he matched that billing in the race. "I know you can knock the form, but we weren't looking for him to tell us anything," Meehan said. "Wherever he was going to run, we knew he'd win. The main objective was to get him back down the hill, because he still lacked experience. I'd been very confident before the Dewhurst as well [last autumn] but had hoped to give him another run beforehand. Only he gave a cough, had a slightly dirty scope, so had to go straight to the Dewhurst, and Jame [Spencer] came back and said the horse had just run out of ideas on the hill."

Crowded House was under consideration for the Guineas but Epsom is his priority, as a son of Rainbow Quest, and Meehan considers York a more appropriate route – not least because of the later resumption. "We'd like to see him end up in the Breeders' Cup Classic, so it could be a hell of a long year," he explained. "He goes well on top of the ground, so we're going to be looking at midsummer prizes, too. His second dam is a half-sister to Storm Cat, so there's a lot of natural speed there, but he'll settle and I can't see the distance being a problem at Epsom."

Meehan also has a candidate for the Stan James 1,000 Guineas in Super Sleuth, caught close home on her reappearance at Newbury last Saturday. "She was a week off being ready and got tired," he said. "But Frankie Dettori was very complimentary afterwards, and she's an improving sort who'll be suited by the extra furlong."

The first Classic winner trained here was Gang Forward, who won the 2,000 Guineas for Alec Taylor in 1873. Meehan's first would be Manton's 42nd, but he acknowledges no pressure. "Don't get me wrong, it makes a difference going out every morning when you're training the Guineas and Derby favourites," he said. "And we've the ideal place to train them. But you can only do your best; they can only do theirs."

i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
Robert De Niro has walked off the set of Edge of Darkness
news The Godfather Part II actor has an estimated wealth of over $200m
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
Robbie Savage will not face a driving ban
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Nearly half of all young people in middle and high income countries were putting themselves at risk of tinnitus and, in extreme cases, irreversible hearing loss
health Nearly half of all young people in middle and high income countries are at risk of tinnitus
It was only when he left his post Tony Blair's director of communications that Alastair Campbell has published books
people The most notorious spin doctor in UK politics has reinvented himself
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in ‘I Am Michael’
filmJustin Kelly's latest film tells the story of a man who 'healed' his homosexuality and turned to God
Arts and Entertainment
Public Service Broadcasting are going it alone
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

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sauce Recruitment: Retail Planning Manager - Home Entertainment UK

salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - London - up to £40,000

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...

Recruitment Genius: Product Quality Assurance Technologist - Hardline & Electric

£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The role in this successful eco...

Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000 QA Tes...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower