John Gosden reiterated on Racing TV on Thursday that Too Darn Hot’s participation in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas hinges on weekend discussions with his owners.
The champion trainer said last season’s outstanding two-year-old was doing “a whole lot better” eight days on from some heat being found in a splint bone but time is against him with only 16 days until the first Classic of the season.
Gosden will consult with Andrew and Madeleine Lloyd-Webber before announcing whether to stick with Plan A and commit to the Guineas or revert to Plan B and determine alternative assignments.
Gosden gives an update on Too Darn Hot to Lydia Hislop
The latter option would give him no pleasure, not least because the 2000 Guineas remains a notable omission on his CV. Rerouting his star would bring further complications, having to choose perhaps between the Irish 2000 Guineas or a Derby trial.
Too Darn Hot, unbeaten in four starts as a juvenile, was odds-on last week to belatedly give the champion trainer a first 2000 Guineas triumph but is available at 4-1 with Betfair and Paddy Power. On the Betfair betting exchange, at about 10pm, he was available to back at almost 9-1.
“When you train for any race, let alone the Guineas, you need to have a clear run-in of at least two weeks,” Gosden told Lydia Hislop. “You cannot go there half on the backfoot, it doesn’t work.
“He’s doing a whole lot better, it [the splint] has cooled down nicely. When you get an interruption like he's had I have to work out if I can the right amount of work into him and I’ll discuss it with the owners over the weekend.
“The key thing is to be making a decision two weeks ahead of the race. It’s fairer to everyone else who has runners in the race and fairer to the people trying to bet on the race.
“What you don’t want is someone oohing and aahing up to the 48-hour declaration stage – that’s no good to anyone.
“We’ll talk over weekend and make a decision one way or the other, and then move on.”
Gosden then expanded on Too Darn Hot’s level of fitness.
“He would have been going into Newbury (at Newbury last Saturday) at 90 per cent. It was a trial and he wasn’t fully wound up.
“I’ve obviously slipped a bit since then with the time off he’s had. I want to discuss it with them [the owners] and make the decision far enough in advance so that it gives the horse every chance.
“The golden rule is to you do what’s right for the horse.”
The Lloyd-Webbers must wonder what they have done to offend the racing Gods. So Mi Dar, the dam of Too Darn Hot, was well fancied for the Oaks in 2009 but missed the race in freak circumstances after being spooked by the sound of a lawnmower and suffering an injury.
Her daughters, So Mi Dar and Lah Ti Dar also missed their intended respective runs in the Oaks when leading fancies.
So Mi Dar was scratched because of lameness in 2016 and last year, Lah Ti Dar was ruled out by a bad blood test.
Meanwhile, Charlie Appleby says a decision over whether Line Of Duty, his Breeders’ Cup winner, will run in the Guineas is also likely to be clearer after he has galloped in Dubai on Saturday.
“We are going to take a look at the picture over the course of the weekend,” Appleby said, “We are going to sit tight and see how people are playing their cards.
“We might have a couple of irons in the fire and we’ll see where the pecking order is over the weekend.”
Line Of Duty is a top-priced 20-1 with bet365.