Belardo announces himself as serious contender for Guineas

Belardo and Andrea Atzeni storm to victory in the Dubai Dewhurst Stakes
Belardo and Andrea Atzeni storm to victory in the Dubai Dewhurst Stakes

Belardo emerged as serious contender for next year’s 
QIPCO 2000 Guineas after a whirlwind performance in the Dubai Dewhurst Stakes.

With Roger Varian already in charge of Cursory Glance — who is near the head of the ante-post market for next year’s QIPCO 1000 Guineas — the Newmarket handler now looks to have a lively candidate for the colts equivalent on his hands after the two-year old scorched up Newmarket’s Rowley Mile on Friday.

Comfortably beaten in the Group Two At The Races Champagne Stakes at Doncaster last month, the son of Lope de Vega turned that form on its head in the seven-furlong Group One contest.

Although looking short of room at one stage, the winner of two of his previous four races — who runs in the colours of Prince Faisal — showed an immediate turn of foot when finding daylight to score by two-lengths.

“We will now have to dream about the 2000 Guineas,” said Varian, who saddled his first Classic winner last month after Kingston Hill won the Ladbrokes St Leger. “It’s a lovely way to end the season.

“You can’t come into these races and expect to win because they are so hot.

“On paper, he had to turn round a couple of lengths with Estidhkaar and that one gave us 3lb and a beating at Doncaster.

“I know Andrea (Atzeni) thought he’d win that day, but it was a messy race — they went slow and he ran too free.

“Today was a truly-run race. He appreciated a little give underfoot and when he won the Washington Singer Stakes at Newbury, he had it a little bit soft.

“I don’t think soft ground is essential, but he obviously handles it and he has a very sharp turn of foot, which he showed today.

“He had to be brave and had to squeeze through a gap as well.”

In the run-up to the meeting, Newmarket trainer Charlie Appleby made it clear he wanted to see Godolphin return to the days where they were one of the most feared operations in the sport.

The boys in blue were given a boost in helping to achieve that status once again after Charming Thought showed a willing attitude to outbattle Ivawood in the Middle Park Stakes, giving Godolphin their first Group One winner in England this season, and Appleby his first ever on home soil.

“It’s great to get the first Group One winner in England,” said Appleby. “This is a horse that we’ve held in high regard from the spring onwards and he just met with a setback.

“We have had to be patient with him, but it has paid off.

“He’s a horse who has progressed throughout the year and William (Buick) says he’d be better on better ground. He felt as though he could stay a mile.

“It is very exciting. We are building for the future and this is a horse for the future.”

A return to the Rowley Mile in May to contest next year’s QIPCO 1000 Guineas could be on the agenda for Together Forever, who completed a three-timer with victory in the Group One Dubai Fillies’ Mile.

“She’s a filly with good sized feet and she is a beautiful-moving filly, and we thought the experience of letting her come over would be good for next year,” said winning trainer Aidan O’Brien. “I would say she has the pace to be a Guineas filly and could get an Oaks trip, which is usually a good sign.”

One-time QIPCO 2000 Guineas hopeful Berkshire got his career back on the right path with victory in the Group Three Darley Stakes, a win that provided the second leg of a 188/1 double for jockey Jim Crowley who was successful 35 minutes earlier aboard Here Comes When in the Group Two Challenge Stakes.

With the meeting aimed at promoting the stars of the future there was a fitting winner of the opening Class Two seven furlong nursery, with Little Lady Katie striking under young weighing room star Jordan Vaughan, while a drop back in trip and switch to a softer surface saw Royal Razalma land the Group Three Dubai Cornwallis Stakes.