05/05/2007 12:00AM

Cockney Rebel takes Guineas at 25-1


Cockney Rebel belied his 25-1 odds as he came with a scintillating run to upset the $700,000 2000 Guineas Stakes at Newmarket on Saturday.

A mere maiden winner, Cockney Rebel made his first start in eight months a winning one as he rallied under Frenchman Olivier Peslier to lead at the eighth pole, running on strongly to defeat the 33-1 Vital Equine by 1 1/2 lengths while clocking 1:35.28 on good to firm ground over the straight Rowley Mile Course. His time was just about a fifth of a second off the 1994 stakes record of Mister Baileys. It was another three-quarters of a length back to thetwo-time juvenile Group 1 winner Dutch Art, who was 14-1. Duke of Marmalade finished fourth.

The Aidan O’Brien-trained Group 2 winner Eagle Mountain was fifth, with Major Cadeaux, who had defeated Dutch Art in the Group 3 Greenham Stakes last month, sixth, and the Michael Tabor and Joseph Allen-owned French invader US Ranger seventh, beaten a total of 3 1/2 lengths as the 5-1 second choice. The Michael Stoute-trained 4-1 favorite Adagio came home 12th of 24, albeit just 5 1/2 lengths behind the winner in a race that was sorely missing the presence of its injured antepost favorite Teofilo, as well as the retired Holy Roman Emperor.

In truth, Cockney Rebel was something of an overlay at 25-1. Having won his maiden first time out going six furlongs on the Newmarket July Course last summer, he next finished second in the restricted $600,000 St. Leger Sales Stakes, then followed with a close third behind Vital Equine and Eagle Mountain in York’s seven-furlong Group 2 Champagne Stakes, a race whose form will clearly have to be upgraded after this Guineas result.

One of just 17 horses trained by the unheralded Geoff Huffer in Newmarket, Cockney Rebel was bred to be a miler. By 2001 Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Val Royal out of a mare by Known Fact, who was awarded the 2000 Guineas in 1980 at the expense of Nureyev, he was bred in Ireland by Oak Lodge Bloodstock and purchased as a yearling for just $58,000 by Phil Cunningham, who named him after the 1970’s British rock group Cockney Rebel.

Peslier, who was riding his second British classic winner (he partnered High-Rise to win the Epsom Derby in 1998), wisely tacked Cockney Rebel over to the faster stands side group, circling that bunch of 14 with a devastating burst of speed as US Ranger, who led the slower far side group of 10, faded in his wake. Huffer and Cunningham will now choose between the 1 1/2-mile Epsom Derby on June 9 and the one-mile St. James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 19 for Cockney Rebel’s next start.