Chaldean © Ian Headington/

2000 Guineas goes to Chaldean

Frankel colt Chaldean overcame soft ground and a strong field to take the Gr.1 2000 Guineas with a classy performance at Newmarket yesterday.

Taken from the Thoroughbred Daily News, 7th May 2023, by Tom Frary:

Persistent rain in the lead-up to the Gr.1 2000 Guineas turned the ground to soft at Newmarket and while several of the race's big names floundered, ultra-professional Chaldean stayed straight and true to win with authority.

Providing Frankie Dettori with the ultimate final ride in the mile Classic, the Andrew Balding-trained 7-2 second favourite tracked TDN Rising Star Hi Royal up the centre and as that 125-1 shot began to veer left heading into the dip and duly took control. Forging clear up the rising ground, the Gr.3 Acomb Stakes, Gr.2 Champagne Stakes and Gr.1 Dewhurst Stakes hero who had dramatically unseated Dettori at the start of the Gr.3 Greenham Stakes a fortnight earlier, hit the line strong with one and three-quarter lengths to spare over the Kevin Ryan-trained outsider. Royal Scotsman was half a length away in third as the 13-8 favourite Auguste Rodin beat only two rivals home and one of those was the last-placed Little Big Bear.

"I can't believe it's happened really -it's mad and I have mixed emotions, I don't know whether to laugh or cry," Dettori said. "My last Guineas, to win it in front of my home crowd, it's amazing and beyond my wildest dreams."

Other than when he was beaten on his debut at two and when finishing riderless on this year's introduction, Chaldean has proven as reliable as he is classy and with the benefit of hindsight it is difficult to believe that he started as only the second favourite in a three-runner Champagne in September. Even in the Dewhurst, the chestnut was only joint-favourite alongside theJuddmonte's other runner Nostrum (Kingman) so being under-rated is a thing that has come with the territory.

With the four preceding races on the straight course giving no indication of any bias, there were no excuses on that score for any of the beaten runners and it was more likely ground conditions that contributed to the downfall of the other favourites. The free-running Little Big Bear did little for his prospects with understandable freshness and while Hi Royal and Oisin Murphy and Chaldean enjoyed the run of the race up front Auguste Rodin, Royal Scotsman and Sakheer were probably too far adrift by halfway.
From the two pole, each time Frankie got alongside Hi Royal the imposing Ryan runner ducked left and that left Chaldean in the clear and home free. As he stayed on strongly to the line, the race's dubious stayers were only treading water in behind with Auguste Rodin disappointingly disappearing out of sight. In the final analysis, it may be that the winner was the only true top-class miler to act in the ground and so it was a surprise to hear that Andrew Balding had stamina doubts.

"I was a bit worried about the mile in this ground, but what a brilliant ride from Frankie," the master of Kingsclere said after greeting his second 2000 Guineas winner in four years. "What can't you say about Frankie? Since I've been involved in the sport he's been an omnipresent superstar of the sport and what a fitting way to ride his last 2000 Guineas. He always looked to be travelling comfortably, I was just a bit worried about getting past Oisin because he can get extra lengths out of a horse. It's a mixture of relief and elation, it's a big deal. He might stay 10 furlongs in time, but no further."