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Garswood (centre,red) wins the European Free Handicap Newmarket 17.4.13

Garswood (centre, red) wins the European Free Handicap at Newmarket

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (  

Garswood into 12-1 as Guineas gamble builds

GARSWOOD, the impressive winner of the Listed European Free Handicap at Newmarket on his last start, has been cut across the boards for Saturday's Qipco 2,000 Guineas after a series of positive updates and Richard Fahey's charge is now a general 12-1.

A 20-1 shot at the weekend, Garswood has come in for support and is now the second shortest of the home team in the betting. David Williams of Ladbrokes said: "Beyond the front two, Garswood has been easily the best backed horse in the Guineas."

Tony Hamilton is set to keep the ride, despite Paul Hanagan being available, while William Buick has picked up the ride on the Richard Hannon-trained Van Der Neer.

John Gosden's stable jockey is delighted to have been snapped up by Hannon, who is also responsible for the strongly fancied Toronado in the colts' Classic over the Rowley Mile.

Van Der Neer booked his place in the race with a smooth victory in the Listed International Stakes at Lingfield on his seasonal debut.

He had smart form as a two-year-old, winning his first two starts before signing off with a creditable second place behind Kingsbarns in the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster in October.

"I've not ridden him before, but I've seen him obviously and have ridden against him once," Buick told At The Races. "He looks a nice horse and a good spare ride to get.

"I won't sit on him before Saturday. He seems to be very straightforward and he doesn't look to have any obvious quirks. He looked good at Lingfield and he ran very well in the Racing Post Trophy as well, so I hope it all suits him."

Hannon is also responsible for the 2,000 Guineas second favourite Toronado, who received a boost on Wednesday when workmate Ninjago hacked up in the Listed Pavilion Stakes over 6f at Ascot.

After the win, Hughes said: "He's been going well at home, but we weren't sure how well as he worked the other day with Toronado and he was climbing all over the back of him."

On jockey bookings, trainer Aidan O'Brien said: "Our probable arrangements are that Joseph rides Cristoforo Colombo and Moth, Seamie Heffernan Mars and Colm O'Donoghue George Vancouver, while Ryan Moore is set to ride Snow Queen in the 1,000 Guineas. We hope he will be back in time from America."

Mars has drifted slightly to 10-1 (from 9) while Moohaajim is into 20-1 (from 25). In the 1,000 Guineas market the Mikel Delzangles-trained What A Name came in for support and is now a best-priced 5-1 (from 11-2), while Winning Express is 16-1 (from 20).

A drying day at Newmarket on Wednesday resulted in watering for the first time in advance of this weekend's two-day Qipco Guineas meeting.

The going on the Rowley Mile was changed to good to firm, good in places, from good all over on Tuesday. Clerk of the course Michael Prosser said: "The rainfall that was forecast for Friday night now looks like being negligible so we have put a quarter of an inch of water on today. We will sit tight and see where we are on Thursday, but it could be that we put a similar amount on the course on Friday to maintain."

Beyond Friday, Prosser is expecting the weekend to be dry, adding: "After a weak weather front passes over on Friday night it should brighten on Saturday morning and stay dry with temperatures of up to 15C, and then slightly warmer on Sunday."

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