By Jon Lees
GB: Ralph Beckett has been training for 20 years and has won three British Classics and even a race at the Breeders’ Cup – but he will break new ground on Saturday when Kinross becomes his first runner in the Qipco 2,000 Guineas.
The Kingman colt will return to the Newmarket track where a spectacular eight-length winning debut last October earned him the highest ratings of any first-time-out winner from the yard.
On his only other start he finished fifth behind Kameko in the G1 Vertem Futurity Trophy, run on Tapeta at Newcastle after being switched from Doncaster, after getting bumped early.
It’s hoped the experience will stand him in good stead when he lines up in the colours of Julian Richmond-Watson, who also bred and owned Beckett’s 2008 Oaks winner Look Here.
“I think there were reasonable excuses for his run at Newcastle,” said Beckett. “He was very inexperienced at the time and he got broadsided by Donnacha O’Brien’s mount [Mogul] early on. He looked like he was going to finish off well and he flattened out in the last 150 yards.
“He could have run in the Horris Hill the following day on heavy ground at Newmarket but I was keen to run him at Newcastle, not because I thought running him in a Group 1 was the right thing to do, but more because it was going to be a better surface than heavy ground.
“He needed to get that experience and, given what has happened this year, I am glad he did. It didn’t work out on the day but it wasn’t a disaster.”
At odds of 12-1 Kinross is fourth favourite and one of the more likely threats to last year’s European champion two-year-old and odds-on favourite Pinatubo.
Kinross’s preparations have included a trip from his Andover base to use the gallops at Whitsbury, where Marcus Tregoning trains.
“Kinross worked well,” added Beckett. “He went to Whitsbury last week and that went well. I’ve been pleased with him since and we are looking forward to running him.
“I wanted to get him on grass and everywhere else was too firm. Whitsbury is never too firm. I was pleased with what went on – hopefully he will have reaped the benefit and on Saturday he will go well.”
Big-race jockey Harry Bentley is relishing the prospect of teaming up with Kinross at Newmarket where Beckett expects the likely quick ground will suit the colt, who won at the track on good to soft going.
“Of course Harry is excited about him,” said Beckett. “The horse goes well and I think he wants fast ground. I’ve not had a 2,000 Guineas runner before. I’ve been training for 20 years – that’s not good is it?”