Craven could determine Classic target for Foundation

Foundation (Frankie Dettori) wins

Foundation: Under consideration for 2,000 Guineas and Derby

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (  

INVESTEC Derby second favourite Foundation will try to help connections determine whether they should be planning his Classic programme around Newmarket or Epsom when his three-year-old campaign begins at Newmarket today.

The colt, who lost his unbeaten record when having nowhere to go in the Racing Post Trophy, launches his season in the Qipco 2,000 Guineas trial, the Novae Bloodstock Insurance Craven Stakes.

But the Newmarket Classic, for which he is fourth in the betting at 16-1, could be moved off his schedule if trainer John Gosden and jockey Frankie Dettori believe he has greater potential over a longer distance than the Guineas mile.

Foundation, owned by Highclere Thoroughbred Racing, raced exclusively at a mile last year, his three wins including the Group 2 Royal Lodge Stakes, and could have added a Group 1 prize had he not been boxed in at a vital stage of his final race at Doncaster.

‘It’s up in the air until he runs’

Harry Herbert, Highclere’s managing director, said: “John has been very happy with the horse. His work has been very good. Frankie rode him on Sunday and was pleased with him.

“We’re starting off from here trying to establish which direction we will be headed. It’s up in the air until he runs. He certainly could go 2,000 Guineas or French Guineas.

“A lot will depend on Frankie’s view as to whether the mile is right for him or whether he’s ready to step up in trip. If that’s the message then potentially he could head to the Dante and then there would be a decision about going to the Derby or French Derby.”

New beginning

Foundation, who is the first horse to benefit from the removal of the Group penalty from the conditions this year, showed he handled cut in the ground last season. His last-race mishap has been forgotten.

“What happened, happened,” said Herbert. “The key about that race was that John Gosden wanted the horse to be settled. He was just a shade buzzy at Newmarket. The instruction was to get a lead and not to kick off and make the running.

“The way the cards fell there was no possible chance of getting out. It was unfortunate. You never want something like that to happen in a Group 1. We have turned the page, it’s a new year and we hope it’s an exciting one.”


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