04/29/2005 11:00PM

Footstepsinthesand wins 2000 Guineas


Footstepsinthesand gave Kieren Fallon his first big race score since having joined Aidan O'Brien as Ballydoyle's first string rider with an impressive victory in the 2000 Guineas Stakes at Newmarket on Saturday.

Fallon had had his choice between the undefeated 13-2 shot and his Group 1 winning stablemate Oratorio and he chose right. Always well placed, Footstepsinthesand led at the 3/16th's pole and ran on strongly under Fallon to record a 1 1/4-length victory in the $608,000 classic mile. Oratorio, ourun early, weaved his way through traffic to get up for fourth as a pair of 100-1 shots, Rebel Rebel and Kandidate, came home second and third. Footstepsinthesand, who had won a maiden and the Group 3 Killavullan Stakes in his two previous starts in Ireland last fall, covered the straight mile in 1:36.10 on good to firm ground.

Godolphin's early season woes continued as their 11-8 favorite Dubawi was always one-paced, coming home fifth, 3 1/2 lengths behind the winner as the Dubai Millennium colt was actually losing ground in the final stages. Meanwhile, the well-backed Rob Roy, trying to give Michael Stoute his sixth Guineas winner, weakened to finish last of 19, beaten 27-1/2 lengths.

The three Clive Brittain-trained runners, Party Boss, Kandidate and Tony James were one-two-three until Fallon pushed the button on Footstepsinthesand, who was giving owners Michael Tabor and Mrs. John Magnier their third 2000 Guineas triumph, the duo having scored with Entrepreneur in 1997 and King Of Kings a year later.

By the outstanding young stallion Giant's Causeway, Footstepsinthesand, who was running for the first time in six months, is out of a Rainbow Quest mare, so he may well be able to stay the mile and a half of the Epsom Derby, although O'Brien said that there will be discussions with all concerned before a decison is made on his next race.

* At Longchamp on Saturday, France's ace stayer Westerner returned to the races with a 1-1/2-length victory at 3-5 in the 1 15/16-mile Group 3 Prix de Barbeville. Ridden by Olivier Peslier, the 6-year-old Elie Lellouche-trained son of Danehill will next make his third try for victory in the 2 1/2-mile Ascot Gold Cup at York on June 16.