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QIPCO 2000 Guineas: Is Kingman the real deal?

Kingman is already being hailed as “the next Frankel” in many quarters following his runway success in the Greenham Stakes which saw him shoot to the head of the betting for the QIPCO 2000 Guineas at Newmarket on Saturday, May 3rd.

The Group 3 success at Newbury was the third in a row for John Gosden’s colt, and he was visual impressive in beating Night Of Thunder by 4 1/2 lengths.

After being held-up travelling strongly, the son of Invincible Spirit cruised into contention to take the lead entering the final furoing and showed an instant turn of foot to put the race to bed.
However, what was noticeable was that the majority of the field pulled very hard for much if the race – suggesting that it was a slow run affair.

That was backed up by the clock, as Kingman recorded a very modest time of 1m 26.95 on ground offcially described as good.

To put it into context, it was four seconds slower than that recorded by Dick Turpin when he beat stable companion Canford Cliffs in 2010 on good ground.

It was also over two seconds slower than that clocked by Frankel, albeit on good-to-firm going, when he won in 2011 before going on to land the 2000 Guineas.

To me that makes the form look slightly questionable, but it’s easy to see why some have been quick to compare him to Frankel as he also carries the famous green, pink and white colours of owner Prince Khalid Abdullah.

Connections were certainly in bullish mood after the success, with Gosden saying that “without doubt he has the highest cruising speed of any horse I’ve trained over this trip” and jockey William Buick comparing him to a Ferrari as he picks up instantly when dropped down a gear.

That is praise indeed from two very highly respected figures in the game, but it’s also worth noting that Gosden was worried about the possibility of fast ground at Newmarket on Guineas day.
Kingman had a bone chip surgically removed from a joint in October, a problem that emerged during his abortive preparation for the Jean-Luc Lagadere.

The only time he has encountered quick going was on his second start in the Group 3 Solario Stakes at Sandown, when he was far from impressive in beating Emirates Flyer by two lengths.

The runner-up has since gone on to win just once in five subsequent starts and is rated 104, and even allowing for the fact that Kingman has undoubtedly improved the form does not look strong.

Fast ground at headquarters would certainly be a major concern as far as I am concerned, as it could well result in Kingman becoming unbalanced in the tricky downhill dip if it results in him feeling his old injury in any way.

The other thing that needs to be looked at is his current rating.

Kingman was given a rating of 118 after his win in the Greenham, and that is lower than the last three winners of the 2000 Guineas had heading into the 1m contest.

Frankel was rated 126 before winning in 2011, Camelot was rated 119 in 2012, and last year’s winner Dawn Approach went into the race on a rating of 124.

There are also two major opponents waiting to lock horns with Kingman at Newmarket.

Richard Hannon’s Toormoore kept his unbeaten record intact with a cosy success in the Craven Stakes and is rated 122, and Champion Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien has made no secret of high highly he rates Australia who is currently rated just 1lb below Kingman.

Toormore is currently a 6/1 shot with Coral, who make Australia their 7/2 second favourite.