Too Darn Hot, the hot favourite for next month’s 2,000 Guineas since a brilliant win at Doncaster last September, has been ruled out of the Classic on 5 May after John Gosden, his trainer, decided that he had run out of time to get his colt ready following an injury to a splint bone 10 days ago.
The injury forced Too Darn Hot to bypass his intended seasonal debut in the Greenham Stakes at Newbury last Saturday and while the three-year-old has been responding well to treatment, Gosden said: “It’s unfortunate, but it’s only two weeks away and that does not allow us sufficient time to get the required work into him.
“Consequently, he’ll miss Newmarket. The two races we have in mind now are both next month, the Dante Stakes at York and the Irish 2,000 Guineas.”
Too Darn Hot followed up his win in the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster last September with another authoritative success in the Group One Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket. He was rated 126 in last year’s juvenile rankings, the highest mark for a juvenile since Frankel and Dream Ahead were given the same rating in 2010.
The news that he will miss the 2,000 Guineas will be hugely disappointing for Lord and Lady Lloyd Webber, who bred and owned the son of Dubawi from their top-class racemare Dar Re Mi. Too Darn Hot was briefly odds-on for the Classic last month, and two of his older siblings, Lah Ti Dar and So Mi Dar, have also been forced to miss Classics in the past due to injuries when they were at or near the head of the betting.
Plumpton 1.55 The Flying Sofa 2.25 Belmont Park 2.55 Sadma 3.25 Mister Universum 3.55 Magic River 4.30 He’s A Goer 5.05 Age Of Wisdom
Market Rasen 2.00 Mon Port 2.30 Present Ranger 3.00 Mabela 3.30 Chozen (nap) 4.05 Gortroe Joe 4.40 Astracad 5.10 Montego Grey
Southwell 2.05 Fly True 2.35 Littledidyouknow 3.05 Captain Lars 3.35 Cape Victory 4.10 Champarisi 4.45 Tigray 5.15 Ticks The Boxes
Ffos Las 2.15 Big Penny 2.45 Capone (nb) 3.15 Farm The Rock 3.45 Champagne Champ 4.20 Get On The Yager 4.55 Volcano
With Too Darn Hot now confirmed as an absentee, Aidan O’Brien’s Ten Sovereigns, last season’s Middle Park Stakes winner, is the new ante-post favourite at 3-1, while André Fabre’s Persian King has shortened to 5-1.
Persian King has yet to win at anything higher than Group Three level and Fabre has previously suggested that Persian King will be aimed towards the French 2,000 Guineas at Longchamp rather than Newmarket. Some punters, however, seem to be betting on a change of heart now that Too Darn Hot is out of the running at Newmarket.
Magna Grecia, another likely runner from the O’Brien stable, is next in the betting at 13-2, while Skardu, the winner of the Craven Stakes at Newmarket last week, is a 7-1 chance.
Agrotera provided Ed Walker with perhaps the most memorable success of his career when she landed a gamble in the Sandringham Handicap at Royal Ascot last year and the filly gave her trainer another moment of immense satisfaction when she recorded her first win since in the feature race here.
Walker’s dream now would be a return to the Royal meeting to run in the Group Two Duke Of Cambridge Stakes – but he will need the approval of the Ascot stewards to do so, as Agrotera is a nervous filly who needs to be “ponied” before a race.
“She’s a very good filly and it’s nice to have her back,” Walker said. “This was important. She just didn’t hit the level of her Ascot form in the second half of last season. She had a hard race there and it knocked her mentally, but we never quite got her back.
“If her brain will let us, I’d love to go back to Ascot for the Duke Of Cambridge, that’s always been the dream. But apart from Derby day, there aren’t many races that are more high-pressure and stressful. It depends whether the stewards want to help us or not, that will determine whether we run.”