Gosden hails new Guineas favourite Kingman.
KINGMAN by name, the king man and stunning by nature. The debrief from John Gosden said it all as he acclaimed the new general 7-4 favourite for the Qipco 2,000 Guineas as blessed with the highest cruising speed of any horse he has trained over seven furlongs. And there is the added gift of instant acceleration, too.
When James Doyle dabbed the accelerator with a furlong to go in a trial noted this year for its unusual strength in depth, the race was over in a blink. The 15-8 favourite, racing in the same colours as Frankel who won the race three years ago, zipped clear to win by four and a half lengths from the previously unbeaten Night Of Thunder.
Doyle, in his first full year as owner Khalid Abdullah's retained jockey, confirmed it felt as good as it looked. "He has a very powerful cruising speed and he picked up instantly when I asked.
"I rode him in his last piece of work and the way he quickened then was electric. It would be a dream come true for me if he wins the Guineas in my first full season in the job. I've had only one previous ride in the race."
Doyle added: "Today was all part of the learning process for him. And he was learning plenty. He'll need that experience for Newmarket, where some horses without the necessary experience don't handle the Dip too well."
Gosden warned fast ground would be the obstacle that could prevent Kingman taking his place in the 2,000 Guineas. The former champion trainer, in white-hot form with seven winners at the two-day Newbury meeting, and 12 from his last 18 runners, is not one to waste words of adulation, but he was heaping praise on Kingman without a prompt.
He said: "Without doubt he has the highest cruising speed of any I've trained over this trip. A mile will be his distance though. It wouldn't be wise to race on fast ground having had surgery to remove a bone chip from an ankle. There's no need to race on fast ground, it's a long season and we can wait. I hope it's good ground at Newmarket, but there are other options if it is quicker."
Reflecting further on Kingman's show of power, Gosden added: "I was really happy with the way he settled early on because there wasn't a bundle of pace. I thought they did a beautiful job in settling the Middle Park winner [Astaire] in front; I thought he might go off six-furlong pace."
Asked if he expected such a performance, Teddy Grimthorpe, the owner's racing manager, smiled: "That's a rather loaded question. If I say yes then I'm arrogant, and if I say no I'm being falsely modest! He came into the race spot-on, having wintered well, and his level of work was up to the standard we saw last year."
Richard Hannon, trainer of the runner-up, was looking on in admiration at Kingman. He said: "The winner is very good and he looks the Guineas winner. But our horse has run a good race. Going up to a mile won't hurt us, neither will fast ground. I reckon it will be either England or France for us - probably England. You can't run away from one horse."
The surprise package in third was Rod Millman's 80-1 Master Carpenter. The trainer said: "He's not in the Guineas and to be honest we were always looking for place money. I always felt he was a good horse but the wheels came off a bit last year - he had a few niggling problems."
Kingman out on his own under jockey James Doyle to register a highly impressive Greenham Stakes success