Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Dunlop Set for Elusive Win in Guineas; Veteran Trainer Has a Colt with the Right Credentials to Pip Hot Favourite and Earn Him a First Success in Newmarket Showpiece. Simon Milham Reports

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Dunlop Set for Elusive Win in Guineas; Veteran Trainer Has a Colt with the Right Credentials to Pip Hot Favourite and Earn Him a First Success in Newmarket Showpiece. Simon Milham Reports

Article excerpt

Byline: Simon Milham

EDDIE AHERN is under no illusions of the task facing Elusive Pimpernel and 17 others in tomorrow's StanJames.com 2,000 Guineas -- he insists St Nicholas Abbey is the horse they have to beat. The Irish jockey aims to give veteran Arundel trainer John Dunlop his 11th Classic success, thus elevating him to a select band of trainers who have won all five Classics.

And ELUSIVE PIMPERNEL (3.05pm, nap) has the right credentials to master the Aidan O'Brientrained favourite.

St Nicholas Abbey was unbeaten in three starts as a juvenile, culminating in a clear-cut success over in the Racing Post Trophy over a mile at Doncaster last autumn.

Elusive Pimpernel was beaten just under four lengths that day but Ahern believes the form can be overturned, particularly in light of his deeply impressive victory on his three-year-old debut in the Craven Stakes at Newmarket.

Ahern said: "St Nicholas Abbey is obviously the danger, the horse they all have to beat. He's very talented.

"On soft ground he beat me and picked up really well but all his runs have been on softer ground and he's going to be running on quicker ground, on a track that might not suit him.

"My horse was a big two-year-old and he was weak but he's wintered really well and has really developed. So I'm very excited. He has improved and hopefully he has improved enough to reverse the four lengths."

The stats are stacked against St Nicholas Abbey. Just one Guineas favourite in the last 16 years has prevailed -- the O'Brien-trained George Washington five years ago.

He was also the only Champion two-year-old from the previous season to win from the last 10 to have tried.

Ahern has a clear idea of the tactics he'll employ after watching Elusive Pimpernel's recent romp.

He said: "I was getting some physiotherapy at Newmarket when he won the Craven [under Ryan Moore] and he really impressed me when I saw how he'd filled out. …

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