Watch Tom Stanley's revealing interview with the champion trainer at Sandown on Thursday night and read Andy Stephens' report.
John Gosden told Racing TV viewers on Thursday night that he will take the blame if Too Darn Hot recoils in the Tattersalls Irish 2000 Guineas on Saturday just nine days after his reappearance defeat in the Dante Stakes at York.
The champion trainer has surprised many by deciding to run last season’s outstanding two-year-old in the Curragh Classic so soon after he suffered the first defeat of his career at the hands of Telecaster on the Knavesmere last week, which came after a splint problem which ruled him out of the Qipco 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.
However, Gosden said at Sandown on Thursday night that there were mitigating circumstances for the reverse and that Lord and Lady Lloyd Webber’s colt had since been “full of joy” and given him every encouragement to take on Magna Grecia, who won last month’s 2000 Guineas at Newmarket in his absence, plus a dozen others.
“This is an unconventional approach to a Classic but he’s come out of York very well and enjoys his racing. He is just full of joy and energy,” he said. “I just hope we get a clean race and may the best horse win.
“I think we are being very sporting. I’ve discussed it with the owners to go there. You could easily just wrap him up in cotton wool and go to Ascot but he’s racehorse and he wants to race, so let him. And if he bounces I’ll take the blame.
Gosden discussed Too Darn Hot after talking about King Of Comedy's win at Sandown
“I’m in complete trepidation about the whole idea of running there but it was my idea. I watched the horse and he was clearly giving me those [right] signals. I wouldn’t have done so if he was giving me any other signals.
“It’s not a normal way you approach a Classic, by running over an extended mile and a quarter, finishing second, having done nothing since the previous October but I don’t have time on my side.
“It’s a Classic, it’s a lovely track. I think the mile at the Curragh will suit him. Similarly Ascot will suit him but what I didn’t want to be was cowardly, if you like, and just back off.”
Too Darn Hot went down by a length in the Dante, with his stablemate, Turgenev, who helped force the pace, beaten about six lengths into fifth.
“He was too keen, too gassy, too fresh the other day and I only had him 85 per cent,” Gosden said. “I think they let the pacemaker [Turgenev] and a very nice winner go. You can’t give them six or seven lengths on good to firm at York and think it’s going to be easy to get that ground back. It isn’t.
“He ran a crackingly good race but when I saw Turgenev still leading inside the two-furlong I thought ‘everybody behind has given them to much rope’ and they did. I wasn‘t disappointed - I got there in a hurry and paid the price.”
Dettori guided Gosden’s King Of Comedy to success on the Sandown card and said of Too Darn Hot: “I’m pleased he’s back a t a mile. He will be easier to control. You can use his energy more efficienly than over a mile and a quarter.”
Watch how Magna Grecia won the 2000 Guineas, with Skardu third
Magna Grecia is a general 6-4 for Saturday’s showpiece, with Too Darn Hot a standout 13-8 with Unibet.
However, it is not just a match with Skardu, first home in the centre group when third in the 2000 Guineas, among others in the line-up. He is a general 8-1.
William Haggas, trainer of Skardu, said: "It is a rematch and a lot has been made of the Guineas at Newmarket but I still think that the best horse won on the day there. I do believe that Magna Grecia was in an advantageous part of the track, but I do think he would have won wherever he'd have been that day.
"Skardu is in very good form. We had good days at the Curragh last year and it would be nice to continue this season."
Dermot Weld has enjoyed a fine start to the current Irish Flat season and the master of Roswell House is relying solely on Shelir who has won both of his starts this season.
The Aga Khan-owned colt was an impressive winner at the Curragh over seven furlongs last time out and will be ridden once again by Chris Hayes.
“I’m delighted with Shelir,” Weld reported on Thursday. “He is a straightforward colt, he is a good-actioned horse. He has had no hold ups so we are all set and looking forward to running him.”
Also featuring in the first Irish Classic of the season is the Paddy Twomey-trained Decrypt, who booked his place in the race with a facile win at Cork last month and would be bidding to give the in-form trainer the biggest success of his short training career.
"Decrypt beat some smart winners at Cork last month. He travelled through the race well and quickened away and did it within himself. It was a nice comeback for him and the logical next step for him is to step up in class,” said the trainer. “He’s rated 105 after three starts and he’s in very good form.”