Date: May 06 2012
WHEN they run for the roses at Churchill Downs you know that spring has sprung in the northern hemisphere - and with it the serious start to the flat racing season.
As the globe shrinks and horses travel the planet to contest major prizes, the collateral form lines start to build. Emerging stars in the US, England, Ireland and France develop the currency that make them contenders as both racehorses and potential stallions in Hong Kong, Japan, Australia and New Zealand as well as in their own backyard.
The 2000 Guineas - the race that launched Frankel as a superstar last year - was run overnight at Newmarket in England, with the fillies equivalent, the 1000 Guineas, being run late tonight.
The two 1600-metre contests for three-year-olds are two of England's five classics, the ultimate tests for three-year-olds.
Aidan O'Brien, who sent out the unbeaten Camelot as favourite for the colt's event, will be looking to short-priced contender Maybe, who won all of her five starts as a two-year-old, making a successful seasonal debut in the 1000 Guineas just after midnight this evening.
Earlier in the day Australian fans of international racing can get an early morning fix when the Kentucky Derby, the first leg of the US Triple Crown, is staged at Churchill Downs.
The Bob Baffert-trained Bodemeister is favourite to provide his trainer with the ideal pick-up and defy history to become the first winner in 130 years not to have run as a two-year-old. Baffert, who has won the ''run for the roses'' three times already, is himself recovering from a heart attack he sustained in Dubai while saddling runners at the World Cup meeting in late March.
Bodemeister's lack of experience as a juvenile shouldn't count for too much as he has had four starts already this year and won the Arkansas Derby by almost 10 lengths, recording smart times almost every occasion he set foot on a racetrack.
Another race that should capture local interest is the Champions Mile at Hong Kong's Sha Tin track today where Peter Moody's mare King's Rose will fly the Australian flag in a competitive field headed by English galloper Cityscape, who proved himself as an international group 1 horse with an easy 4¼-length win in the Dubai Duty Free at Meydan on World Cup night.
King's Rose ran a good trial last start when placed in Sydney behind More Joyous but today she is up against seasoned Hong Kong gallopers such as the veteran Able One and Ambitious Dragon.
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