Horse Talk with Simon Jackson:
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John Gosden has confirmed that the Greenham Stakes at Newbury on April 13 is the immediate target for Qipco 2000 Guineas favourite Too Darn Hot.
Gosden’s charge is currently trading at even money with most firms for the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket on May 4 after winning all his four starts last season, that included an impressive victory in the Group 1 Darley Dewhurst Stakes and culminated in being named the European Champion Two-Year-Old of 2018.
Too Darn Hot, owned by Lord Lloyd Webber and bred at his Watership Down Stud, won first up over a mile at Sandown in August before stepping back to seven furlongs for his next three starts – a Listed contest at Sandown, a Group 2 at Doncaster and the Dewhurst.
Too Darn Hot, a son of Dubawi and the Lloyd Webber’s three-time Group 1 winner Dar Re Mi, has pleased connections in recent weeks and appears to be on course to make his reappearance on the second day of Newbury’s Dubai Duty Free Spring Trials meeting which commences on April 12.
“Too Darn Hot is on course for the 2,000 Guineas and he’ll be trialling all being well in the Greenham Stakes at Newbury,” Gosden said.
“Frankie [Dettori – jockey] was pleased with him when he sat back on him for the first time the other day in a piece of work on the Al Bahathri.
“He’s thickened out over winter and is a horse with a nice turn of foot, so we’ll have to see where we go trip wise with him later on,” Gosden said to the Racing Post.
“The owners have kindly bought him a lead horse named Whitlock, who has the option of leading him in his races later on in the year.”
Meanwhile, Watership Down Stud, the leading breeding operation established by Lord and Lady Lloyd Webber, is the new sponsor of the contest – The Group 3 Watership Down Stud Greenham Stakes. The value of the race has been increased to a total prize fund of £70,000.
Simon Marsh, general manager of Watership Down Stud, said, “We are delighted to be involved with a new sponsorship at Newbury Racecourse which will see the first running of the Watership Down Stud Greenham Stakes.
“It is also a wonderful coincidence to have the promising Too Darn Hot as a potential contender for the race. The Lloyd Webbers have such a close association with this racecourse and are big supporters of the industry which makes this partnership even more meaningful.”
Julian Thick, chief executive of Newbury Racecourse, said, “We are delighted and grateful that Watership Down Stud has come on board to sponsor the Greenham Stakes.
“It is always an exciting race to start the season, with an illustrious roll of honour including some of the great sires, Kingman and Frankel. It seems the perfect fit to have such a prestigious breeding operation as the new sponsor and we are delighted to be running it with an increased prize fund of £70,000.”
Too Darn Hot also heads the betting for the Investec Derby for which he is best-priced at 9-2 but as short as 5-2.
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