05/01/2014 12:48PM

England: Kingman strong favorite in 2000 Guineas


Kingman, the flashy winner of the Grade 3 Greenham Stakes last month, will be a strong favorite to extend his unbeaten streak to four races in Saturday’s $760,500 English 2000 Guineas at Newmarket Racecourse.

But the absence of rain in recent days has left the turf at Newmarket good to firm, conditions that could be quicker than Kingman would prefer. When Kingman won the Greenham Stakes over seven furlongs by 4 1/2 lengths at Newbury, the turf course was listed as good.

There was a possibility Newmarket officials could water the turf to keep the surface from becoming too firm, but some rain was expected late Thursday.

Kingman, who will be ridden by James Doyle, was 5-4 favorite with English bookmakers Coral on Thursday. Owned by Juddmonte Farms, Kingman has never raced beyond seven furlongs.

The Group 1 2000 Guineas, run on a straightaway mile with an uphill finish, has drawn a field of 13, including the highly regarded Australia, trained by Aidan O’Brien, and Toormore, undefeated in four starts and the winner of the Grade 3 Craven Stakes at Newmarket on April 17.

Australia is the 9-4 favorite in the future book for the English Derby at Epsom Racecourse on June 7.

War Command, another O’Brien-trained runner, won the Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes over seven furlongs at Newmarket last October, his most recent start.

The race has a minor American influence. Outstrip, the winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Santa Anita last November, is considered a longshot for Godolphin Racing and trainer Charlie Appleby. Outstrip has not raced since the BC Juvenile Turf.

◗ There are only five entrants for Saturday’s Group 2 Prix Greffulhe at Saint-Cloud, France, a prep for the French Derby at Chantilly on June 1.

Prince Gibraltar, who won the Group 1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud last November, makes his first start of the year in the Prix Greffulhe, run over 1 1/4 miles on turf. Earnshaw, a Kentucky-bred colt by Medaglia d’Oro, starts for Godolphin Racing. He won the Group 3 Prix Thomas Byron at Saint-Cloud last October.

◗ Chantilly will host the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in 2016 when Longchamp Racecourse in Paris will undergo redevelopment.

Chantilly was scheduled to host the 2015 Arc, but French racing officials have postponed the Longchamp construction project for one year. The redevelopment is expected to be completed for the 2017 racing season at Longchamp.

The 2014 Arc, to be run on Oct. 5, will be worth a record $6.9 million, according to an announcement earlier this week from the sponsors, Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club.