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Champions Series Dark Horses: Skardu

6 Mar 2019

Will the surprise winner of a Newmarket maiden in September be able to do similar in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas?

Skardu wins under with Martin Harley on his debut over 7f at Newmarket in September. Picture:


Form: 1. Trainer: William Haggas

“The mile division looks strong, but if there is a dark horse that could ruffle a few feathers, I’m pretty sure it’s Skardu.”

That was the view of Graeme Smith, the British Horseracing Authority’s lead two-year-old handicapper, when the International Classifications were announced in January.

He added: “The market didn’t point to Skardu on his debut and he was sent off 33-1. He certainly knew an awful lot less than the third and fourth horses.

“Giving them a start in a race where they were quickening in the last two furlongs, not only did he make up the ground but he surged right past. I’m hoping he will start in a race like the Greenham then go from there.”

Those third and fourth horses that Smith made reference, too, that late September afternoon at Newmarket, were Estihdaaf and Karnavaal, who went on to lose their maiden tags before the year was out.

And Estihdaaf has already made an impact this year, being the runaway winner of the Group 3 UAE 2000 Guineas at Meydan last month.

Skardu, by Shamardal out of a dam who showed fair form in seven starts at up to a mile, looks sure to be suited by a mile and possibly a bit further.

He is 50-1 for the QIPCO 2000 Guineas, the first race of this year’s QIPCO British Champions Series, at Newmarket on May 4.

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