LONDON: Winning a fifth 2000 Guineas on Saturday with jockey Frankie Dettori on board Chaldean would be “very special” for Newmarket-based operation Juddmonte, its European racing director said ahead of the race.
The 3-year-old progeny of the legendary Juddmonte-owned horse Frankel goes into the first English Classic of the year with a genuine chance of victory following a strong showing in 2022, notching up four wins in five outings all over seven furlongs.
Barry Mahon told Arab News he is confident Chaldean will have enough to last the mile at Newmarket on Saturday.
“There is a lot of speed on his female line,” he said. “Frankel has thus far shown to be versatile as a sire producing horses that can stay well and the way he finished off the Dewhurst (Stakes), you would be very hopeful he would stay a mile.”
Should he claim the win, he would become the fifth winner for Juddmonte after Known Fact in 1980, Dancing Brave in 1986, Zafonic in 1993 and his sire Frankel in 2011. And Mahon hopes Chaldean can become the first of Frankel’s progeny to match the feat.
“Given Frankel’s start to his stud career, it is only a matter of time before he sires an English 2000 Guineas winner. It will be all the more special if the horse is carrying the Juddmonte colors,” he said.
And a win would be especially poignant as it would mark the first victory in the race since the passing of Juddmonte’s late Saudi owner Prince Khalid bin Abdullah.
“All the English Classics are very special races, all extremely difficult to win, and a fifth 2000 Guineas would be very special as it would be the first since the passing of Prince Khalid, who laid the foundations for everything Juddmonte is today,” Mahon added.
Chaldean will face a stiff challenge from two Aidan O’Brien-trained charges in Auguste Rodin and Little Big Bear, but Mahon says there is quality throughout the field.
“We feel it’s a very strong renewal of the 2000 Guineas this year,” he said. “Both Aidan O’Brien’s horses showed high-class ability at 2, Royal Scotsman also looked like a good 2-year-old and is trained by a great team in Paul and Oliver Cole, and Charlie Appleby is having a good run and saddles Noble Style.”
Legendary Italian jockey Dettori already has three 2000 Guineas wins under his belt, his most recent coming on board Galileo Gold in 2016, and has been given the ride on Chaldean in his final season in the sport.
Racing Hall of Fame inductee Dettori has shared some glorious moments with Juddmonte down the years, and a win would be the perfect send-off to one of racing’s greats, Mahon said.
“(He) has been top of his profession for the last 30 years. He and Juddmonte have shared more recently Expert Eye and Enable’s triumphs,” he said.
“If we were to win on Saturday, it would make the day all the more special as his last English 2000 Guineas.
“We are very lucky that Frankie is going to ride for the rest of the season in England and if we are lucky to win on Saturday, we will be able to look forward to plenty more successes over the rest of the year together.”