Yorkshire trainer Bryan Smart today reported his two Stan James 2000 Guineas hopefuls Sir Xaar and Misu Bond to be in great shape and on course for the Classic on Newmarket's NatWest Rowley Mile on Saturday, May 6.
Sir Xaar, a son of champion two-year-old Xaar, notched three wins in a busy two-year-old campaign that saw him run nine times, and is currently available at 50/1 with Stan James for the colts' Classic.
He rounded off the season with an excellent second to Cool Creek, beaten a neck, in the Group Two Mill Reef Stakes over six furlongs at Newbury in September, with Misu Bond down the field having been badly hampered early on.
Smart said: "Sir Xaar looks super and has strengthened through the winter. He never stopped improving last year and is as far forward as I would like him at this moment in time.
"He's bred to get the trip - he's a half brother to a couple of horses who have done well over a mile - but he wouldn't want it too soft, as he's a quicker ground horse."
The trainer continued: "I thought he was unlucky in the Mill Reef Stakes, as he was only run out of it close home, and he could easily have a Group Two by his name. He might get a prep run in the Greenham Stakes at Newbury, but a lot will depend on the ground."
Stablemate Misu Bond, currently rated a 66/1 chance with Stan James for the big race, ran four times over six furlongs at two, supplementing a win on heavy ground in a conditions race at Doncaster with victory in the very valuable totepool Two-Year-Old Trophy at Redcar on his final start in October.
"Misu Bond has done really well over the winter. He's strengthened up and grown, and the work he has done so far I've been very happy with - I couldn't be more pleased with him at this stage," Smart explained.
"I'm confident he'll get the mile trip at Newmarket - he's a relaxed sort who settles really well in his races so we'll see. Of course, we won't know until the day, but Tony Culhane, who will be on board in the Guineas, has been up to ride him work and thinks he'll get it.
"It was genuine good fast ground when he won at Redcar, where I thought he was very impressive from a bad draw, and he won't run on really firm ground. He might go for the Free Handicap to start off and is in good order."
The banshahousestables.com European Free Handicap is run at Newmarket's Craven Meeting on Wednesday, April 19, with Misu Bond currently on 7st 11lb in the seven-furlong contest.
Like Monsieur Bond, whom Smart sent out to finish an unlucky sixth behind Refuse To Bend in the 2003 Stan James 2000 Guineas, Misu Bond is by Danehill Dancer and owned by Reg Bond.
The trainer is hoping for better luck in this year's renewal.
"Monsieur Bond was very unlucky in the race in 2003 - he got stopped three times in one of those Guineas where everyone stayed on the rail - but that's how it goes.
"I'm confident I have two decent chances this year who are in great nick. Both horses look fabulous and their coats are well forward.
"There's only one Guineas so we've got to give it a go but, if they don't win at Newmarket, I'm sure they'll both pick up some black type over the course of the year."
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