George Scott-trained James Garfield beat six colts and geldings April 21 to win the £60,000 Al Basti Equiworld Supporting Greatwood Greenham Stakes (G3) at Newbury, finishing three-quarters of a length ahead of favorite Expert Eye, who nipped Hey Gaman in a photo for second. Raid was another three-quarters of a length back in fourth.
James Garfield—making his first start since finishing 10th in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (G1T)—made it two-for-two at Newbury, where he broke the six-furlong juvenile course record in the Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes (G2) last year. Saturday, the son of Exceed And Excel was content to track the pace for much of the way under jockey Frankie Dettori before taking the lead inside the final furlong. Expert Eye, under Ryan Moore, was unable to go with the winner toward the finish but took second by a short head from pacesetter Hey Gaman.
The Greenham is one of the key trials for the QIPCO Two Thousand Guineas (G1) at Newmarket, and British bookmakers have cut James Garfield's odds to as short as 16-1.
"Frankie is keen to go to the Guineas, and I don't see why not," Scott said. "He finished off really well and was tough again. It's his attitude that sets him apart; he just has this will to win. Credit to the team at home because he takes plenty of managing. It's a great story for all of us."
Dettori was also full of praise for his mount's attitude.
"He tries hard. He's all heart," Dettori said. "He's entitled to have a crack (at the May 5 Guineas). I'm not saying he's going to win it, but if it's an open Guineas, he's got a chance."
Owned by W J and T C O Gredley and bred by Stetchworth & Middle Park Studs, James Garfield had a final time of 1:26.98 for seven furlongs on a good to soft track.
Expert Eye, a group 2 winner who finished last of nine in the one-mile Darley Dewhurst Stakes (G1) at Newmarket last year, impressed trainer Sir Michael Stoute in the son of Acclamation's season debut.
"Ryan said they went very slow," he said. "He's come a long way, because we've had difficulty with him in the stalls in the spring. He was pretty calm today and just needed a little shove in. He wants quicker ground, and we'll see how he comes through this. We're in no hurry to make a decision about which Guineas to go to. We'll take our time."