TRAINER Bryan Smart’s decision to run 100-1 outsider Kentuckyconnection in the Qipco 2000 Guineas, the first Classic of the 2016 Flat campaign, was more than vindicated by a fifth-place finish behind the Frankie Dettori-inspired Galileo Gold.
It also justified the faith shown by Connor Beasley as the jockey continues his heroic comeback from career-threatening injuries suffered in a fall at Wolverhampton last summer – he was so impressed by the colt in a recent piece of work that he told the Hambleton trainer that he would drop other commitments in order to ride in the Guineas.
“We knew he wasn’t a rank outsider,” said a slightly indignant Smart whose four runners in the Guineas have now all finished in fifth place. “He is owned by Yorkshire people, the Woodcock family, who live in Staincross close to where I was born.
“Since winning at Redcar last July on his racecourse debut, he’s not had the ground. He needs it quick. He’s in the Dante at York but he does need fast ground. It was a big shout to use Connor but also a good shout. He was riding winners for me before his accident, and he rides out here every Tuesday morning. After the horse worked, he said ‘Boss, if you want me to ride him in the Guineas, I will make sure I am available’.”