Henrythenavigator outfought heavily backed favorite New Approach in the final 100 yards to win the stanjames.com Two Thousand Guineas Stakes (Eng-I) at Newmarket May 3, giving trainer Aidan O'Brien his fifth win in the English Classic.
Johnny Murtagh, who only recently joined O'Brien as the Irish yard's number one rider, got the partnership off to a great start by springing an 11-1 surprise over the 11-8 public choice in the one-mile test for 3-year-olds. It was the second English Two Thousand Guineas victory for Murtagh, who also won the race in 2002 for O'Brien with Rock Of Gibraltar.
“Johnny gave him a masterful ride and played him to all of his strengths,” O’Brien said. “He is a real fast miler with loads of sprinting speed.”
Henrythenavigator, owned by Susan Magnier, settled toward the rear of the 15-horse field for Muragh as New Approach took the lead while racing on the stands side for jockey Kevin Manning. Manning quickened the pace three furlongs out and they were in control approaching the final furlong. The favorite responded when asked for his closing kick. But he could not repel Henrythenavigator, who drove into second in the final furlong after a sustained drive and reached even terms with 100 yards to go. Henrythenavigator got up over a determined New Approach in the final yards.
"Fair dos to the second, he battled back," Murtagh told Channel 4 Racing. "But my horse answered the call in the last couple of strides. For me, it keeps getting better."
Bred in America by Western Bloodstock, the son of Kingmambo--Sequoyah, by Sadler's Wells previously won the Coventry Stakes (Eng-II)..
Stubbs Art rallied for third at odds of 100-1, finishing four lengths behind the leaders. Raven's Pass finished fourth, followed by Dream Eater, Moynahan, Stimulation, Plan, Strike the Deal, Ibn Kaldoun, Scintillo, Perfect Stride, Alfathaa, Bahamian Kid and Fireside (15). The final time was 1:39.14 on a good course.
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