French Raider Makfi Upsets 2,000 Guineas

First English classic of the year won by 33-1 shot May 1 at Newmarket.

French-trained Makfi upstaged favorite St Nicholas Abbey to win the Two Thousand Guineas (Eng-I) on May 1 at odds of 33-1.

Ridden by Christophe Lemaire and trained by Mikel Delzangles, Makfi charged through a gap in the 19-strong field at Newmarket to win the first classic of the English season. He captured the straight one-mile (1.6 kilometer) test by 1 1/4 lengths.

“He traveled very well all the way,” Lemaire said. “When we had a gap he really kicked and had a very good turn of foot.”

Dick Turpin, who led to the final stages, was second and Canford Cliffs took third. Both of them are trained by Richard Hannon.

A strong favorite after winning three races as a juvenile, the even-money choice St Nicholas Abbey failed to respond the last 400 meters in his first race as a 3-year-old and finished well behind the winner in sixth place.

Trainer Aiden O’Brien, who has saddled five winners in the race, said the slow early pace hurt St Nicholas Abbey.

“They cantered until halfway,” he said. “Ideally for him, he wanted an evenly run mile as we were using this as a stepping stone to the (June 5) Derby at Epsom (Eng-I).”

The winner had been bought out of Marcus Tregoning’s stable as unpriced 2-year-old for 26,000 guineas at Tattersalls in October and had won both his starts for new trainer Mikel Delzangles.

The victory for Makfi was the first Two Thousand Guineas triumph for a French-based horse since Pennekamp won for André Fabre in 1995. Makfi took the same route to the English Two Thousand as Peenekamp did, winning the Prix Djebel as a prep earlier this month.

Delangles, who is a former assistant to Alain Royer-Dupre and Jimmy Fitzgerald, told Racing Post, "We waited for the Djebel to see how good he was but now he has proved he's very good. We might come back for the St James Palace Stakes (June 15 at Royal Ascot)."

Bred by Shadwell, the winning bay colt is by Dubawi out of the Green Desert mare Dhelaal and is owned by Mathieu Offenstadt.

The Paris-based owner has seven horses in training.

"For a small owner like me it’s hard to buy yearlings so we went to Newmarket sales and I wanted to buy a Dubawi," Offenstadt said. "We saw him and thought he had a nice head. I hoped he might win a maiden but this is really just a dream."