05/02/2008 11:00PM

'Henry' upsets New Approach in Guineas



Henrythenavigator outdueled hot favorite New Approach in the $735,000 2000 Guineas Stakes at Newmarket on Saturday, giving Aidan O'Brien his third victory in the last four years in the one-mile colts' classic.

New Approach tried to take them all the way and nearly succeeded. Kevin Manning sent him two lengths clear at the quarter pole and for a moment the 11-8 choice appeared home free, but Johnny Murtagh got the 11-1 Henrythenavigator rolling and engaged the European juvenile champ entering the final furlong. "Henry" soon had a neck lead but New Approach fought back gamely, failing to recapture the lead by just a nose. It was another four lengths back to the 100-1 shot Stubbs Art in third with the 4-1 Raven's Pass fourth and Godolphin's 7-2 second choice Ibn Khaldun a dull 10th, beaten 15 lengths. The time for the straight mile on good ground was 1:39.14, the slowest 2000 Guineas since King of Kings' s 1:39.25 in 1998 and the second slowest in the last 20 years.

Bred in Kentucky by Western Bloodstock, Henrythenavigator is a son of Kingmambo out of Moyglare Stud Stakes winner Sequoyah, a daughter of Sadler's Wells who was also trained by O'Brien, who was winning his fifth 2000 Guineas. Henrythenavigator had surged to juvenile prominence early last summer when winning the Group 2 Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot, but the Guineas result overturned the form of the Curragh's Group 1 Phoenix Stakes in which New Approach had beaten him 3 1/4 lengths into third place. The Guineas was the seasonal debut for both Henrythenavigator and New Approach and they will very likely meet again in the Irish 2000 Guineas at the Curragh on May 24.

For New Approach's trainer Jim Bolger this Guineas was doubly disappointing. Last year he saw his undefeated 2-year-old champion Teofilo sidelined by an injury shortly before the race. Teofilo never ran again, and now Bolger has seen his latest European juvenile champ lose his perfect record, compiled in the same five races that had been won a year earlier by Teofilo. The brewing rivalry between Henrythenavigator and New Approach is heating up and could reach the boiling part at the Curragh in three weeks' time.