04/15/2009 11:00PM

Delegator tunes up for 2000 Guineas


Delegator made short work of the Group 3, $97,000 Craven Stakes at Newmarket on Thursday, taking the one-mile course and distance prep for the 2000 Guineas in dramatic last-to-first style.

Sent off as the 4-6 favorite in the absence of the Godolphin-owned City Style, who was scratched after having scoped badly, Delegator powered clear under Jamie Spencer to defeat the 12-1 Sans Frontieres by 2 3/4 lengths with recent Easter Stakes winner Pure Poetry third, three-quarters of a length behind the runner-up. The winning time on good to firm ground was 1:36.56.

Delegator, trained by Brian Meehan, was running for the first time since Oct. 18 when he was fifth, two lengths behind Intense Focus in the Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes going seven furlongs over this same Newmarket course. After his Craven score, British bookies installed him as the 3-1 favorite for the classic 2000 Guineas, which will be run on May 2. Their action was based in part on news from Meehan that his Epsom Derby favorite Crowded House would skip the Guineas in favor of the Dante Stakes at York on May 14.

The road to the 2000 Guineas takes a 100-mile detour southwest to Newbury for the Group 3, $97,000 Greenham Stakes on Saturday. The seven-furlong race has attracted five group race winners, among them three who finished ahead of Delegator in the Dewhurst - Lord Shanakill, Finjaan, and Shaweel.

Lord Shanakill also won the six-furlong, Group 2 Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury, while Finjaan had won Goodwood's five-furlong, Group 3 Molecombe Stakes. Shaweel was the winner at Newbury of the six-furlong, Group 2 Gimcrack Stakes and will be ridden for Godolphin by Frankie Dettori, who would probably ride the Dansili colt in the 2000 Guineas on Kentucky Derby Day if he runs well on Saturday.

Two others to consider in the Greenham are Vocalised, winner of the listed Loughbrown Stakes for Jim Bolger two weeks ago, and Cityscape, runner-up in the one-mile, Group 2 Royal Lodge Stakes.

The seven-furlong, Group 3 Fred Darling Stakes for 3-year-old fillies includes Bolger's recent Group 3 Leopardstown 1000 Guineas Trial winner Maoineach, Group 2 Rockfel Stakes winner Lahaleeb, and Group 2 Lowther Stakes winner Infamous Angel.

* Clement Freud, 84, a columnist for the British racing daily the Racing Post and a part owner of 2005 Epsom Derby winner Motivator, died in London on Wednesday. A former member of Parliament, Freud was the grandson of the founder of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud.

* Thierry Gillet, winner of the 2004 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe aboard Bago, announced his retirement from the saddle at Longchamp on Thursday. The 39-year-old Frenchman rode 904 winners in France since 1985 including 10 Group 1's, five of them aboard Bago and two aboard Act One.