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Sunday, 16 December, 2018

Exciting juvenile Prince Eiji out to justify 2.6 million guineas price tag

Prince Eiji: out to build on debut win at Ascot
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3.35 Newmarket
Tattersalls Stakes | Group 3 | 7f | 2yo colts & geldings | RUK

Prince Eiji will have his Qipco 2,000 Guineas credentials put to the test in a contest that last year featured Elarqam and Tip Two Win, who finished first and second then and went on to be fourth and second in this year's 2,000 Guineas.

Named after a fictional Japanese tennis player, the Roger Varian-trained Prince Eiji proved a smash as a yearling last year, when making 2.6 million guineas at the October sales.

A half-brother to smart pair Dreamfield and Willie John, who is a stablemate, Prince Eiji showed plenty of the family ability when sinking Red Armada on his debut over seven furlongs at Ascot this month.

Although that form has yet to throw up any superstars, Sheikh Mohammed Obaid's chestnut won cosily enough and seems to have moved forward from that in his recent work on the Limekilns trial ground under Thursday's rider Andrea Atzeni.

Prince Eiji is a 25-1 chance for 2,000 Guineas glory next spring and Varian said: "Prince Eiji showed a professional attitude to win first time out and will naturally improve for the run.

"This is a significant rise in grade, but he looks to have a good future and this is a nice step up the ladder for him.”

How hot is the Champagne form?

Cardini and Bye Bye Hong Kong put the Too Darn Hot form to the test, having finished third and fifth behind the 2,000 Guineas favourite in the Group 2 Champagne Stakes at Doncaster last time.

Cardini, who was sent off at 40-1, made some of the running on Town Moor before being swept aside by the winner at the furlong pole but should find this easier.

Trainer Aidan O'Brien said: "He hasn't done much since running third in the Champagne Stakes but that was a good effort and he seems in good form."

Further in arrears that day was Bye Bye Hong Kong, who was also on the front end for much of the race before weakening to be beaten six and a half lengths.

The son of Street Sense had previously scored over six furlongs at Windsor and his trainer Andrew Balding said: "He ran in a very hot race at Doncaster, where he was a little free, but has been in good form at home since then.

"He finished third on his debut on the July course prior to that, so he should handle the undulations." 

Can Dunkerron bounce back?

Dunkerron, rated “the best two-year-old I have trained” by Alan King, attempts to get back on track after disappointing at this level at Sandown last time.

Having shown a decent level of form to finish fourth in the Group 2 July Stakes at Newmarket, only three lengths behind subsequent Group 1 winner Advertise, Dunkerron produced an even better effort when runner-up at the same level in the Vintage Stakes at Goodwood.

The son of Kuroshio then disappointed when finishing last, beaten 22 lengths, behind Too Darn Hot in the Solario Stakes at Sandown last time, but he may have had excuses.

King said: "If Dunkerron comes back to his best he ought to go very close. Sandown was very disappointing, but the following week he was quite sick with a bad scope and a lot of my two-year-olds at that time weren't quite right.

“He's back in good form now and he would definitely be the best youngster I've trained so far, which is quite special since he was bred at the Barbury Castle Stud by my good mate Nigel Bunter, who still has the mare.” 

What the others say 

Mark Johnston, trainer of Arctic Sound
He's up in class after winning at Doncaster last time but deserves to take his chance and should be thereabouts. It was quite a competitive nursery that day and he should be suited by the stiff finish. 

Richard Hannon, trainer of Floating Artist
It's a race in which we've done well in the past and he should be competitive. He's coming back in trip but isn't short of pace and he should be in the shake-up. 

Richard Spencer, trainer of You Never Can Tell
He ran well to be fourth behind a nice horse of Sir Michael Stoute's [Sangarius] at Doncaster and the way he finished there suggests he'll enjoy the uphill finish.

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Prince Eiji showed a professional attitude to win first time out and he will naturally improve for the run
E.W. Terms
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