Cockney Rebel Makes Them Smile in Guineas Upset

Cockney Rebel Makes Them Smile in Guineas Upset
Photo: Trevor Jones
Cockney Rebel flies home in the Two Thousand Guineas at 25-1.
With a powerful burst in the final quarter-mile, 25-1 shot Cockney Rebel captured the Stan James Two Thousand Guineas at Newmarket on Saturday -- the first classic of England's flat-racing season.

Ridden by Olivier Peslier and trained by Geoff Huffer, the Irish-bred Cockney Rebel unleashed his bid on the stands' side to take the lead with about a furlong to go, surging past 33-1 Vital Equine to win the mile race for 3-year-old colts and fillies by 1 1/2 lengths. Vital Equine was second by three-quarters of a length, followed by 13-1 shot Dutch Art, a short head in front of Duke Of Marmalade.

"It's a marvelous day," Cockney Rebel owner Phil Cunningham said. "Geoff would have told anyone the horse would have been in the first three. He was the forgotten horse."

Cunningham said the son of Val Royal's next outing would be the Epsom Derby (Eng-I) on June 2.

The horse was named after the band Cockney Rebel, which had a 1975 hit song with "Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me)."

Singer Steve Harley was watching in the stands.

"I was never going to have a horse like this so I told Phil he could have the name if he wanted it," Harley said.

Vital Equine led the field for the first six furlongs on the inside of the 24-horse field, opening up a three-length lead. U S Ranger challenged on the far side but could not keep the pressure on as Major Cadeaux emerged from the Dip to threaten, but Cockney Rebel was rallying best of all with a well-timed charge for Peslier.

Adagio, the 4-1 favorite, raced mid-pack and never challenged, finishing 12th. The final time was 1:35.28 on good to firm going.

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