Newmarket to get free preview of Frankel

 

Those who get to Newmarket on Sunday with time to spare before the 1,000 Guineas card will have the considerable bonus of seeing the best horse on the planet go through his paces before racing.

After a minor injury last month that prompted an easy week or so behind the scenes, Frankel is now back in full work and his build-up to his first race as a four-year-old, the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury on Saturday fortnight, will include a return to the scene of one of his greatest triumphs.

The colt's workout will, presumably, be less explosive than the extraordinary blitz in last year's 2,000 Guineas that heralded his imperious progress through the season's elite mile races. But even a champion needs to stay sharp and such awaydays, a change from routine homework surroundings, serve as mental and physical reminders of what the job is about, particularly if conducted in the atmosphere of a race meeting. "At the moment everything is going fine," reported the colt's trainer, Sir Henry Cecil, yesterday, "and, hopefully, we'll get to the Lockinge."

Frankel will be one heck of an act to follow for those who will line up for the 204th 2,000 Guineas on Saturday. After yesterday's penultimate confirmation stage, 22 are still in contention, including the supplementary entry Talwar, an easy winner of his prep on Lingfield's all-weather last month.

Camelot is a short-priced favourite to give Aidan O'Brien a sixth victory in the season's first Classic, backed up Power and Furner's Green, with Born To Sea and Parish Hall also set to travel from Ireland. From France, there are three, with Abtaal the most prominent in the betting. The home side's defence is perceived as being headed by Top Offer, yet to race this season, and the Craven Stakes winner Trumpet Major.

O'Brien also trains the market leader for the 1,000 Guineas; Maybe is one of 21 going forward to Friday's finalisation of the field. Again, there is one late entry (for £30,000): Moonstone Magic. The prospect of easy going on the Rowley Mile was key in the decision – the filly started her career with a maiden win only 18 days ago and followed up in a soft-ground trial at Newbury.

There were sunshine and a drying wind in Newmarket yesterday, though more rain is forecast. But waterlogged Ascot has cried off and tomorrow's Sagaro Stakes card has been transferred to Kempton's Polytrack – with free entry.

Turf Account

Chris McGrath's Nap

Sir Fredlot (6.05 Kempton) Looked useful as a juvenile and should do better this term, even without his transfer to one of the country's top, and in-form, yards.

Next Best

Teacher (3.10 Yarmouth) Showed very little in three runs last season but fine breeding and fancy yearling price tag warrant interest.

One to watch

Ashiri (David Simcock) impressed at Newbury, coming from off the pace into fourth on his first handicap run against much more seasoned rivals.

Where the money's going

Of the 1,000 Guineas outsiders, Diala has attracted enough support to move her to 16-1 from 20s in SkyBet's list.

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