Guineas aim for Kingston
Roger Varian has confirmed the QIPCO 2000 Guineas as the first intended target for his stable star Kingston Hill.
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Last year's Racing Post Trophy winner showed his well-being on the Newmarket gallops on Thursday morning as his preparations for the new season continued.
His big-race jockey Andrea Atzeni rode him in a short exercise on Warren Hill, alongside the four-year-old Mutashadeed.
The unbeaten Kingston Hill, as short as 8-1 for the opening Classic of the year on May 3, filled the eye as he moved with purpose and power.
Varian said: "The horse is spot-on where I want him at the moment - he hasn't missed a beat.
"Things can change, but at the moment we are going to the Guineas with him first. The horse deserves a crack at the Guineas before stepping up in trip thereafter.
"Everything I've seen from the horse tells me he's not going to be out of place in the Guineas. He's got the stamp of a Classic horse and the Classic season starts in May. We will be lining up if we can.
"He is doing plenty now, but he's not in the shape that he could run tomorrow. We want to see that zip in his work in April when he will be doing a little bit more than he is now."
Kingston Hill earned his lofty reputation with three late-season victories, including the Group Three Autumn Stakes over the same course and distance as the Guineas.
He showed his ability to handle easy underfoot conditions that day and then triumphed in very testing ground at Doncaster.
However, Varian believes that his charge will be equally suited by a decent surface.
He said: "It's comforting to know he goes on soft ground, but I wouldn't be perturbed by faster ground.
"People were saying he's a soft ground horse and that he's ground dependent, and questioning whether he's got the speed for a Guineas. But I'm convinced he's going to as effective or more effective on better ground.
"He's such a good-moving horse and well balanced - I've seen how he goes on good ground at home and he goes very well. He might just look a faster horse when he gets to race on better ground. What I've seen of him on better ground excites me."
Kingston Hill is also second favourite for the Derby at Epsom on June 7 and Varian feels the colt's stamina should stretch to a mile and a half.
He said: "His pedigree tells me he'll get 10 furlongs. He's out of a Rainbow Quest mare and there's every chance he'll stay a mile and a half.
"I think with his attitude, running style and pedigree, I would pretty hopeful he'll stay a mile and a half."