04/10/2014 2:40PM

Berkshire, Kingman prep for English 2000 Guineas at Newbury


Berkshire and Kingman, two leading contenders for the English 2000 Guineas in May, make their first starts of 2014 in Saturday’s $100,200 Greenham Stakes for 3-year-olds at Newbury, England.

The Group 3 Greenham is run over seven furlongs on turf on a straightaway course.

Berkshire, a colt by Mount Nelson trained by Paul Cole, won two stakes in 2013 – the Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot in June and the Group 2 Royal Lodge Stakes at Newmarket in September in his final start of the year.

Kingman, a colt by Invincible Spirit trained by John Gosden, is unbeaten in two starts, including the Group 3 Solario Stakes at Sandown last August. Kingman underwent an operation to have a bone chip removed following that race.

The Greenham drew a field of 10, including Astaire, who won the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket last October; Supplicant, the winner of the Group 2 Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury last September; and Night of Thunder, a minor stakes winner at Doncaster last October.

Also at Newbury on Saturday, Al Thakhira, who won the Group 2 Rockfel Stakes last September, is part of a field of 13 3-year-old fillies in the $100,200 Dubai Duty Free Stakes for 3-year-old fillies over seven furlongs. The race is a prep for the English 1000 Guineas in May.

Al Thakhira was last of 14 in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Santa Anita last November, her most recent start. In the Dubai Duty Free, Al Thakhira must beat Joyeuse, a stakes winner at Salisbury, England, last September.

◗ The richest race in Britain on Saturday is the $338,000 Scottish Grand National steeplechase over 4 1/16 miles. Tidal Bay, who fell on the first circuit of the English Grand National last Saturday, is the highweight in a field of 32.

◗ In Ireland, the unbeaten Geoffrey Chaucer, a Montjeu colt trained by Aidan O’Brien, will start as a heavy favorite in the Group 3 Ballysax Stakes for 3-year-olds over 1 1/4 miles at Navan Racecourse. Geoffrey Chaucer won the Group 2 Beresford Stakes in Ireland last September.