G1 Racing Post Trophy winner Kingston Hill (3c Mastercraftsman-Audacieuse by Rainbow Quest), part of Mastercraftsman’s outstanding first crop, is set to begin his 2014 campaign in the G1 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket.
Paul Smith’s colt is unbeaten in three starts and trainer Roger Varian is delighted with the Classic contender’s progress over the winter. Bookmakers rate Kingston Hill an 8/1 shot for both the Guineas and the G1 Derby.
“Kingston Hill has done well over the winter and grown a little and thickened out. The plan is to train him for the Guineas – it’s not a concrete plan – and if we don’t fancy it for whatever reason we can step him up to 10 furlongs in a Derby trial,” said Varian after watching the Mastercraftsman colt work on Thursday morning under Andrea Atzeni.
“From everything I’ve seen, he would certainly not be out of place in the Guineas as he has a classic stamp about him. He’ll probably go straight to Newmarket, but again, if I’m happy he might have a prep race. It’s only March and if we need to sharpen him up in mid-April, he can go to a trial. But at the moment ideally I’ll get him ready for the Guineas and go straight there.
“He’s spot on where I want him at the moment and he hasn’t missed a beat. He wouldn’t be ready for a race tomorrow and I want to see a zip in his work come April but he’s doing plenty now.
“The horse deserves a crack at the Guineas and then we can step him up in trip. He will stay a mile and a half.
“Last year we started him over 7f and then he ran twice over a mile including in the G1 Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster on pretty awful ground. People are saying that he’s a soft ground horse, but I am convinced that he will be as effective if not more effective on good ground.
“He might be faster on better ground. On what I’ve seen better ground excites me and I wouldn’t be perturbed about faster ground although it is comforting to know that he goes on soft ground.
“He has a tremendous attitude, running three times in five weeks as a two-year-old, and he looked better on each start. His attitude should stand him in good stead during his three-year-old career.”
Kingston Hill, who also won the G3 Autumn Stakes, was bred by Ridgecourt Stud and bought for 70,000gns as a yearling by Charlie Gordon-Watson.