EXCITING colt Parbold should not be left out of the reckoning for the Qipco 2000 Guineas at Newmarket as his Yorkshire trainer Richard Fahey seeks a still elusive first win in one of Flat racing’s Classics.
The Dandy Man colt looked the part when making a winning juvenile debut at York last May and confirmed that initial promise with an excellent run in defeat behind leading Guineas candidate War Command in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Parbold then finished third behind another Classic contender in Toormore in the Vintage Stakes at Glorious Goodwood, before signing off his campaign with a similarly sound placed effort in the Gimcrack back at York.
While Fahey admits his star three-year-old colt needs to make significant progress to be rated a major contender for the season’s opening Classic on May 3, he is quietly confident his charge is ready to make the jump up to the next level.
“He’s a big horse and has strengthened up a lot since last year,” said the Malton trainer at an open day to promote Saturday’s season-opening William Hill Lincoln at Doncaster.
“He’s much more mature and looks a different horse now – I’d be surprised if there is a better looking three-year-old in the country. He has definitely improved and we’ve had no issues at all so far. Just looking at the three-year-olds this year, I think a few of them have question marks hanging over them.
“There is obviously plenty of talk about Aidan O’Brien’s Australia, but we’ll see what happens.
“Hopefully, our horse will shape up well and we’ll give him a run in a Guineas trial somewhere before hopefully going on to Newmarket.
“He ran well in some very good races last year and I do think there is plenty more to come from him.
“He’s an exciting horse and although he’s a 33-1 shot for the Guineas (with William Hill), I don’t think he’s a 33-1 shot.
“He’s going to have a big gallop later this week and then we’ll make a decision about where we’re heading with him.”
Fahey admits he would get “drunk for a week” if he managed to clinch his first Classic this year and Parbold is not the only member of his string with Guineas claims. Sandiva won at Nottingham and Naas on her first two starts last year, before finding only Kiyoshi too strong in the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot and got back on the winning trail in a Deauville Group Three.
She disappointed on her final start at two when only seventh in the Prix Marcel Boussac at Longchamp and Fahey admits only time will tell whether the mile of the Guineas is within her compass.
“She’s in good shape and she’ll have a run in a trial somewhere as well, all being well,” said the Musley Bank handler.
“We’ll have to see whether she’ll get the mile or not, but she’s a very talented filly.
“She travelled well in the Boussac and didn’t get home on the day, but the ground was very heavy. She’s easy to train and I’m pleased with where we are with her at the moment.”
Sandiva could be joined in the Guineas by Dutch Courage, who has been off the track since winning a Newmarket nursery last July.
Fahey said: “She’s a very nice filly and we’ll probably start her off in a Guineas trial as well and see how she goes.”
The trainer mentioned Rufford as a potential runner in the Free Handicap at Newmarket’s Craven meeting, while Supplicant is also earmarked for a Guineas trial, with a trip to Germany under consideration.
Fahey said: “Supplicant is a very unassuming horse and doesn’t overly impress you at home, but he’s very tough.
“He has that Group Two penalty now, which makes life tougher, but we’ll probably give him a go in a Classic trial and see how he goes. He is in the German Guineas, so that could be an option if it looks like he’ll stay.”
Meanwhile, William Hill report hardening support for the Rebecca Curtis-trained Teaforthree at the head of the ante-post market for the Crabbie’s Grand National on Saturday week.
Third last year to Sue Smith’s Auroras Encore, the horse has been cut from 10-1 to 8-1 after it was confirmed that Nick Scholfield will be in the saddle at Aintree.
Another market mover is Balthazar King, a last-gasp winner of the cross country race at Cheltenham Festival.
The Philip Hobbs horse has been cut from 33-1 to 25-1 as jockey Richard Johnson, the second-winning most rider of all time, bids to break his National duck at the 18th attempt.
The stought stayer Goulanes, meanwhile, who Johnson rode to victory in the Midlands National, will miss the Aintree race.
His trainer David Pipe said: “He was fine after the race, but has now gone back to his owner’s for a holiday and appeals as a likely type for the race next season.
“That means that we will probably be three-handed with Our Father, The Package and old favourite Swing Bill.”