Henrythenavigator confirmed the form of the stanjamesuk.com Two Thousand Guineas Stakes (Eng-I), where he had battled New Approach the entire final furlong before prevailing by a nose.
Stubbs Art, who finished third in the English classic at odds of 100-1, finished in the same spot again, 3 1/2-lengths further back. This time, his odds were only 20-1.
With a field reduced to just five after several scratches, last year’s 2-year-old champion, New Approach, was made the slight favorite to capture the Irish classic. Jockey Kevin Manning sent New Approach to the front, and the duo was content to set the pace.
The Jim Bolger trainee was in trouble with two furlongs left to run, as New Approach never appeared comfortable over the firm going. Johnny Murtagh had Henrythenavigator galloping along easily in third throughout the early stages, and he unleashed his charge within the final furlong to win going away.
Final time for the eight furlongs was 1:39.6 over the good to firm going.
Trainer Aidan O’Brien, who completed the English-Irish double six years ago with champion Rock of Gibraltar, didn’t completely rule out a run in the Vodafone Derby (Eng-I) June 7. The Ballydoyle trainer told reporters after the race, “The Derby is very much in the picture, but obviously it is the boss (John Magnier) and Sue (Magnier) who will decide that.”
O’Brien continued, “He is a definite possible as he is fit and well, and handles all of the things. He has a devastating turn of foot and that is what makes good horses special.”
Johnny Murtagh was a bit more cautious after the Guineas, however, saying, “He has got a lot of speed, and a great turn of foot, but I am not sure about a mile and a half.”
Plans for New Approach include a step up in trip, to a mile and a half in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby (Ire-I).
Henrythenavigator is by Kingmambo out of Sequoyah, by Sadler’s Wells. Sequoyah was champion 2-year-old filly in Ireland in 2000. She is a full sister to 2007 Irish champion 2-year-old filly, Listen.