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Trumpet Major not a big player just yet

By Chris McGrath

It would be fairly ungracious to dismiss outright any five-length winner of a trial over course and distance, but the fact remains that yesterday Trumpet Major could only earn himself a place in the Qipco 2,000 Guineas reckoning between two colts not yet certain to line up, and one who most definitely will not.

The latter is his own stablemate, Harbour Watch, ranked much the superior at home but sidelined after a setback.

Two other absent friends, however, remain higher in the esteem of the bookmakers — the unbeaten Camelot, who will be very short odds indeed for the Guineas once his participation is duly confirmed, and Most Improved, hot favourite for the Novae Craven Stakes here when found to be lame yesterday morning.

Brian Meehan, his trainer, advises that his Guineas participation must now be “open to question”.

Without him, it suddenly looked a very open race — if not, it must be said, quite so exciting. Most Improved would have to be every bit as good as they say at Manton, however, to see off Trumpet Major with anything like the same emphasis as the winner did those that showed up.

Admittedly he did drift awkwardly right, in the Dip, but he had already broken decisively clear.

Richard Hannon Jr, who had also saddled the winner of the fillies trial the previous day, was further gratified to see another of his runners, Crius, hold on to second after making the running along the stands rail.

Eastern Sun was next, also prominent throughout up the middle, as all those graduating from maidens disappointed in varying degrees.

Trumpet Major is now as short as 6-1 for the Guineas with Coral, but twice those odds with Ladbrokes, who make Camelot 6-4. The favourite can be backed at 9-4 elsewhere.

Most Improved remains no better than 7-1, while Top Offer is the other main market protagonist, 6-1 in places, pending his scheduled reappearance at Newbury tomorrow.

Roger Charlton, his trainer, is keen to give Top Offer more experience but admits that further rain might force him to withdraw what he describes as “an exceptionally good-moving horse”.

However Trumpet Major fares, he warrants celebration as a classic Hannon project.

Arakan has made a good start at stud but plenty must have overlooked his son at just £18,000 as a yearling.

He won the Champagne Stakes at two and looks entitled to a podium finish when he returns a fortnight tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Nicky Henderson's fantastic campaign continued as he secured three good prizes — through Une Artiste, Kells Belle and Glorious Twelfth — on the second day of Cheltenham's April fixture.

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