Arcano, the newly purchased Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid juvenile, is likely to contend the popular Classic trial, the Darley Dewhurst Stakes, at Newmarket in October after taking the Group One Prix du Morny for juveniles by a stride at Deauville. The two-year-old Oasis Dream colt has now been installed as early favourite for England's famous Classic, the 2,000 Guineas for three-year-old colts at Newmarket next spring in the wake of his winning run over six furlongs in France on Sunday.
Sheikh Hamdan's jockey, Richard Hills, put together a well-timed effort, coming from behind to defeat the front-running filly Special Duty, trained by Criquette Head-Maarek, and Richard Hannon's disappointing-on-the-day Canford Cliffs. Arcano, who shaved two seconds off the race record, replaced the previous Guineas favourite, Canford Cliffs, who had been awarded that lofty status by virtue of his explosive six-length romp to victory in the Group Two Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot in June.
That turn of pace was inexplicably absent on Sunday, however. Hannon's assistant and son, Richard Hannon Jr, didn't make excuses for the galloper, who laid down his challenge under Richard Hughes alone on the stands side, but, unlike his Ascot outing, simply couldn't step it up despite being hard-ridden. Sheikh Hamdan bought Arcano following his impressive win over Orpen Grey in the Group Two July Stakes at Newmarket and left the colt in training with Brian Meehan - the first horse that the Wiltshire-based handler has prepared for the prolific Emirati owner.
Angus Gold, Sheikh Hamdan's racing manager, expects Arcano to get the Dewhurst's longer trip. "I think we'll be going seven furlongs next time, rather than staying at six," he said. "We'll have to see what happens in the next few weeks, but I imagine Sheikh Hamdan would love to see him win the Dewhurst." Although Arcano shows consistent form and will no doubt mature for next year's contests, more will be known about his future as a Classic contender after the October race, in which he will take on Aidan O'Brien's two-year-olds, who were conspicuously absent from the Prix du Morny.
Meanwhile Godolphin continued their red-hot streak with a three-length win for the stayer, Schiaparelli, in the Group Two Darley Prix Kergolay. The victory marked a wider achievement for the boys in blue - they have now picked up 500 Group or Listed victories since the Dubai stable's inception in 1992. @Email:firstname.lastname@example.org