By Graham Clark
Andrew Balding insists he has Chaldean "right where he needs to be" ahead of attempting to provide Frankie Dettori with what he describes would be a very special victory on his final ride in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas at Newmarket next month.
Dettori, 52, seeks a fourth success in opening Classic of the season on the Rowley Mile, which he has previously won aboard Mark Of Esteem (1996), Island Sands (1999) and Galileo Gold (2016), when teaming up with the son of Frankel on May 6.
Last season, Dettori recorded wins aboard the Juddmonte-owned colt in the Group Two Champagne Stakes at Doncaster over seven furlongs before guiding him to Group One glory in the Darley Dewhurst Stakes over the same trip on the Rowley Mile.
And although Chaldean is yet to be tested over the mile trip he will face for the first time in the Guineas, which he is a general 7-1 chance for, the Kingsclere handler is confident he will have no problem seeing out the extra distance.
Balding said: “I’m very happy with Chaldean and he is right where he needs to be. I think he has lengthened a bit over the winter, but the nice thing is that he is really relaxed.
“He is working to a high level but in a relaxed manner and that is all we can ask for. The mile shouldn’t be a problem in the Guineas and I’d be surprised if he didn’t stay it.
“It would be very special if Chaldean could win it for Frankie. He is still riding plenty of winners and he is as good and as hungry as he has ever been.
“It would be lovely to try and give him the ammunition to win the 2000 Guineas.”
Before Chaldean and Dettori go in search of Classic glory the pair will team up for a tilt at the Group Three Watership Down Stud Too Darn Hot Greenham Stakes over seven furlongs at Newbury on April 22.
Balding added: “The intention is to run at Newbury in the Greenham as a prep for the 2000 Guineas.
“He improved with racing last year so we were keen to get a run in before the Guineas so the Greenham is the plan.
“I think for that first run seven furlongs in the Greenham is more appealing than going up to a mile in the Craven plus there is the fact that it is just down the road from us.
“We have taken all those things into consideration as from there we will only have two weeks until the 2000 Guineas and we don’t want to be doing anything more stressful than we have to that close to the race.”
A return to the Rowley Mile beckons for stablemate The Foxes, who is being lined up to make his seasonal re-appearance in the bet365 Craven Stakes.
Having signed off last season with victory in the Group Two Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes over course and distance the son of Churchill will bid to move a step closer to an outing in The Derby at Epsom Downs in the mile Group Three on April 20th.
Balding said: “We are hoping that The Foxes might make up into a Derby horse this season.
“He is not in the 2000 Guineas but he will probably run in the Craven as a prep for the Dante.
“He is a horse that we have always rated and he looks the part. Hopefully he will be a smart horse this season.”
Both the QIPCO 2000 Guineas and the Derby are part of the QIPCO British Champions Series.
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