Small return from Guineas

Click to follow
The Independent Online
At first sight the statistics are damning - only Nashwan in the last 20 years has succeeded in the Derby after first winning the 2,000 Guineas, writes John Cobb.

Worse still, plenty have attempted the double, with only seven passing up the chance of collecting the first two legs of the Triple Crown.

On those figures Pennekamp is up against it today, just another Guineas winner likely to be found wanting in the big one. In fact, he is part of a much more exclusive group - membership of which entitles him to much more respect. Pennekamp, like Nashwan, is bred to stay.

Check out the starting-prices of those Guineas winners in the Derby and they fall into two categories. Mister Baileys, fourth in last year's race at 16-1, is an extreme example of the first group: tearaway milers that would need roller-skates to last the extra four furlongs and which are ignored by punters.

But Pennekamp is likely to start at around the same odds of 5-4 as Nashwan and shares the category with the 2-1 shot Dancing Brave, 8-11 chance El Gran Senor and 11-10 favourite Wollow. True, those three were beaten, but Wollow was equally unsuited by the course as the trip, while pilot error was the cause in the other two cases.

Therein lies one of the problems of supporting a horse in the Derby that is unproven over the trip. If the rider is unsure of the horse's stamina he is likely to keep him well away from the frantic pace of the front- runners, instead conserving energy towards the rear. Greville Starkey, of course, managed to switch off Dancing Brave rather too well in 1986 and when the time came to wake him up the "bomb-proof" colt did not respond until Shahrastani had flown.

On El Gran Senor two years earlier, Pat Eddery found himself in front too soon and, rather than kicking for home as he would have on a proven stayer, waited for Secreto to nip ahead on the line.

The exclusive club is an expensive one too.