Alcohol Free can deliver in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket for Kingsclere trainer Andrew Balding
KINGSCLERE trainer Andrew Balding believes Alcohol Free will be ‘very competitive’ in Sunday’s G1 Qipco 1000 Guineas at Newmarket.
The three-year-old is coming into the race in strong form, winning on her last two appearances – which included the Fred Darling Stakes at Newbury on April 18.
Balding, who won this race with Kameko last year, explained how it was important to get a prep run before tackling the first classic of the season.
“We’re really pleased with her and she’s come on in her coat and condition since the Fred Darling at Newbury and it will be an exciting race for her.
“A run prior to stepping up to a mile was necessary and it was nice to blow the cobwebs away and get a win.
“Although she didn’t win by far, she looked really well all through the race.”
Oisin Murphy, who was on Kameko in last year’s win, will once again be the jockey for Balding and since winning the Juddmonte Chieveley Park Stakes at Newmarket, this has been the aim for Alcohol Free.
“Ever since she won the Chieveley Park, this has been the aim so it has been a long-term plan and hopefully we can get her there in one piece.
“If she runs her race, I think she will be very competitive,” he said. “There is only five classics and they’re not very easy to win, but they are always a priority for us if we have a horse that is good enough.”
This season, flat trainers will have more time to prepare for Royal Ascot – which begins in June – and Balding is pleased with the timing of things.
“This is the first big weekend of this season for us flat trainers and it’s important for the horses with any Royal Ascot aspirations.
“After this, we can hopefully get excited for Ascot because last year it was a big rush and if you wanted a run before it, it was two-weeks before the meeting.”