Faydhan: not sighted since debut win at Haydock in JulyPICTURE: John Grossick (racingpost.com/photos)
Faydhan set to start off in Free Handicap
JOHN GOSDEN is expected to give Qipco 2,000 Guineas second favourite Faydhan an unfashionable Classic warm-up in the European Free Handicap at Newmarket.
The presence of the promising son of War Front, who has recently been well backed into 6-1 for the May 2 Classic, would be a major shot in the arm for the 7f Listed race, which last produced a 2,000 Guineas winner in Mystiko 24 years ago.
Rated 102 on the back of an impressive victory on his only start in a 6f maiden at Haydock in July, Faydhan was not seen again after picking up a leg problem. However, he has enjoyed a trouble-free winter and Gosden is keen to start him back over seven furlongs.
His form has been advertised by the exploits of Haydock runner-up Dutch Connection, who went on to land the Acomb Stakes at York before finishing a creditable third to 2,000 Guineas favourite Gleneagles in the Group 1 National Stakes at the Curragh.
Gosden told the Racing Post on Monday: "Faydhan is progressing well and one of the options for his comeback is the Free Handicap, which he just creeps into off his rating, and it makes sense to start him back over seven furlongs rather than a mile in the Craven Stakes.
"I've won the Free Handicap three times in the past, including with Anshan, who went on to finish third in the Guineas, and it's handy as it's just down the road."
Gosden added: "Faydhan will also be entered in the Greenham at Newbury, which we won with Kingman last year."
Owned by Hamdan Al Maktoum, Faydhan has been allotted 8st 4lb in the CSP-sponsored Free Handicap, which is open to horses rated 100 and above, but that burden is set to rise with notional topweight Charming Thought already ruled out through injury.