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Rosallion ready to rumble after winter of content

Rosallion ready to rumble after winter of content
Rosallion ready to rumble after winter of content

Richard Hannon is ready to unleash Rosallion as he attempts to mark the 10-year anniversary of his first Qipco 2000 Guineas success in style on Saturday.

Hannon saddled Night Of Thunder to deliver a 40-1 shock over the likes of Kingman and Australia in 2014, but now feels he has a colt of the highest order on his hands and one who could be the best to ever walk through the gates of his Wiltshire base.

The son of Blue Point won three of his four outings as a juvenile and after a promising start that saw him scoop Listed honours on just his second run, allayed the disappointment of a first defeat when delivering a statement victory in the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere.

Having skipped the early-season trials in preference to completing his Newmarket preparations behind closed doors, the colt is now burdened with the mantle of Britain’s best hope of downing City Of Troy in the opening Classic of the season.

“Mine don’t usually go to the Guineas without a run, but Rosallion has been to Kempton twice and he also went to Newbury the other day, when he had a nice breeze on the bridle,” said Hannon ahead of the British Champions Series event.

“He’s had a coat on him all winter like Paco Boy used to have, almost looking like a snake, and he has the same attitude Canford Cliffs had, as he couldn’t care less.

“It’s a proper Guineas and whatever wins will be a champion. It’s not all about City Of Troy either, as there are others you could fancy too, but I couldn’t be happier with Rosallion. I know he’s the best horse in the yard, and we’ll find out on Saturday if he’s the best horse in the race.”

While Rosallion was tucked away avoiding the early-season action, stablemate Haatem was out causing a shock in the Craven to put himself in the Guineas picture and give Hannon a handy second string to his bow.

Haatem winning the Craven at Newmarket
Haatem winning the Craven at Newmarket (Bradley Collyer/PA)

“Haatem doesn’t work anything like so well as Rosallion, but he’s different,” continued Hannon.

“He’s not a showy work horse, but he goes out and grinds them into the ground and that’s what impressed me in the Craven. He loved the mile there, and he’s a bit of a dark horse.”

Also getting a taste for the Rowley Mile during the Craven meeting was Karl Burke’s Night Raider, with his handler keen for him to have a feel of the turf having excited in two outings on the Southwell tapeta.

Burke said: “He pleases me every time I see him, obviously we don’t ask him to extend in every piece of work, but we’ve got a horse like Flight Plan who is rated 113 and Night Raider can put him to bed pretty quickly.

Night Raider following his racecourse gallop at Newmarket
Night Raider following his racecourse gallop at Newmarket (Adam Morgan/PA)

“He’s got a lot to prove and he’s got a lot of things against him. It’ll be his first run on turf and his first proper gallop on turf was at the Craven meeting, but he came out of that really well.

“Danny Tudhope loves him and I wouldn’t mind having a bet there’ll be nothing travelling any better than him a furlong and a half out and we’ll see what he does after that.”

Another bringing smart all-weather form to the table is the unbeaten Notable Speech, with the son of Dubawi the sole Charlie Appleby-trained representative after dazzling at Kempton last month.

He will be ridden by William Buick, who said: “I haven’t seen much of him since Kempton, but I think he has pleased everyone since and I’m really looking forward to it.

“It’s very hard to say until the day (if he can improve again) but I certainly think he deserves to take his chance.”

Ghostwriter also possesses a 100 per cent record and the apple of Clive Cox’s eye brings smart course form to the table after claiming last year’s Royal Lodge with authority.

That was the last time he was seen on the racecourse, with Cox electing to tune-up his son of Invincible Spirit at home.

“We’re very happy and we’re looking forward to Saturday now, the sooner it comes the better,” said Cox.

“We’ve done all we need to do and he’s in good form and we’re looking forward to seeing him run.

“It’s a Guineas, it’s a hot race and that’s what a Guineas is. We really like Ghostwriter, but fully respect all of the quality and strength in depth of the Guineas which you would expect.

“We hope he can equip himself well and show the promise he has shown before. He has course experience he has to put into place and we’re just looking forward to the day.”

Alyanaabi garnered plenty of experience on the Rowley Mile as a two-year-old, winning the Tattersalls Stakes in September before returning to chase home City Of Troy in the Dewhurst.

Owen Burrows’ candidate has has three and a half lengths to find with the odds-on market leader, but was amongst those to get an April sighter of the course in the hands of his big-race pilot Jim Crowley.

Alyanaabi has smart course form
Alyanaabi has smart course form (Tim Goode/PA)

“He came up to Newmarket’s Craven meeting for an away day and I think it really helped him, like so many horses that really sparked him back into life, he’s been a lot sharper since that at home,” said Angus Gold, racing manager for owners Shadwell.

“They’ve been happy with him at home and I don’t think it will matter too much if it rains, he got through the ground all right on Dewhurst day. I think it will be unlikely to be that soft anyway.

“We’re hopeful he’ll run a big race. He was second to the good horse (City Of Troy) last year and obviously he has a bit to make up to beat him but he seems in good form, so we’re going there hopeful that he’ll run a big race and it will tell us a bit more with regards the rest of the season.

“He’s not necessarily an out-and-out miler. It’s Too Darn Hot’s first crop so we don’t know so much but he’s out of a Kitten’s Joy mare from the family of Height Of Fashion, so he could easily go further, but at the same time he showed enough boot last year. It’s a finding out mission.”

Meanwhile, Task Force also finished his season with a silver medal at HQ, behind Vandeek in the Middle Park.

Ralph Beckett’s son of Frankel now steps up to a mile attempting to emulate his sire and provide owners Juddmonte with back-to-back 2000 Guineas triumphs.

“He’s all set to go and we’re looking forward to it, he’s in good form and Ralph is happy with him,” said Juddmonte’s Barry Mahon.

“It’s obviously a big task to take on the top two in the market, but as I read somewhere earlier in the week, there’s only been one odds-on winner of the Guineas in the last 30 years and that was Frankel, so upsets do happen.

“We’re happy with our colt, we’re looking forward to seeing him at a mile and hopefully we’ll have a good result.

“You’d like to think on pedigree he will stay. Last year he was a little keen at times, hence we went six furlongs. But when you watch the Middle Park back, he got caught for a bit of toe between the two and the one and stayed on up the hill and hit the line very strong, which is encouraging.

“You can never be confident until you try it, but we’re hopeful.”

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