05/01/2010 12:00AM

French runner Makfi wins 2000 Guineas


Makfi scored a 33-1 shocker in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket on Saturday, handing the much heralded even-money favorite St Nicholas Abbey a resounding defeat.

In becoming the first French-trained horse to win the first leg of the English Triple Crown since Pennekamp in 1995, Makfi ran off to a 1 1/4-length victory over the 16-1 longshot Dick Turpin.

St Nicholas Abbey, the European juvenile champion, had no excuse for his sixth-place finish in the $611,000 Guineas. He was close up under Johnny Murtagh in the early going in sixth or seventh, not more than two lengths behind the pacesetting Dick Turpin. But St Nicholas Abbey was in trouble approaching the eighth pole as Dick Turpin extended his lead, only to be run down by Makfi.

In ending St Nicholas Abbey's perfect record, the Mikel Delzangles-trained Makfi extended his career mark to 3 for 3. He was coming off a sharp three-length victory in the seven-furlong, Group 3 Prix Djebel at Maisons-Laffitte on April 8.

Canford Cliffs finished third, a half-length behind his Richard Hannon-trained stablemate Dick Turpin, who had beaten Canford Cliffs by that same margin winning the Group 3 Greenham Stakes on April 17. Xtension was fourth, with the 9-2 second choice Elusive Pimpernel, who had won the Group 3 Craven Stakes and been second to St Nicholas Abbey in the last fall's Racing Post Trophy, fifth, beaten 3 1/4 lengths. It was a neck farther back to St Nicholas Abbey.

Makfi, ridden by Christophe Lemaire, ran the mile on good to firm ground in 1:36.35.

A British-bred son of Dubawi out of a Green Desert mare who is a half-sister to juvenile Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes winner and two-time Group 2 mile winner Alhaarth, Makfi is bred to be a miler and will be kept to that distance for the foreseeable future. Delzangles will very likely pass on the French 2000 Guineas, which is just two weeks away on May 16, in favor of a return to England for the St. James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 16.

Trainer Aidan O'Brien complained that the early pace was a bit slow, and pointed out that St Nicholas Abbey was running on well at the end and that this effort would make a nice stepping-stone to the Epsom Derby on June 5.

* Earlier, Jukebox Jury returned to form with a 3 3/4-length victory over the handicapper Nanton in the Group 2, $152,000 Jockey Club Stakes. A dull 15th in the Dubai Sheema Classic, the 7-4 Jukebox Jury benefited from the application of a visor for the first time as he covered the distance under Royston French in 2:32.34. Jukebox Jury will go next in the Coronation Cup at Epsom on June 4.

* Byword beat a pair of classic winners in the Group 2, $172,000 Prix du Muguet at Saint-Cloud, nipping recent Prix Edmond Blanc winner Gris de Gris by a short head while traveling the mile on good to soft ground in 1:39.50.