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Newmarket trainer William Knight 'rolls the dice' with 2,000 Guineas contender Checkandchallenge



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While Checkandchallenge may be among the outsiders for Saturday’s QIPCO 2,000 Guineas (3.40pm), trainer William Knight believes there could be more to come from his son of Fast Company.

A winner on his debut at Wolverhampton last November, the three-year-old backed that performance up on his reappearance this season by winning the Listed Coral Burradon Stakes on All-Weather Finals day at Newcastle.

It was a display that convinced Knight, who trains out of Rathmoy Stables on Newmarket’s Hamilton Road, to ‘roll the dice’ and enter his colt into the first Classic of the season at the Rowley Mile.

William Knight with his 2,000 Guineas horse Checkandchallenge. Picture: Mark Westley
William Knight with his 2,000 Guineas horse Checkandchallenge. Picture: Mark Westley

“He needed to go and win that race at Newcastle the other day and he did it,” said Knight, who moved into his HQ-based premises last year.

“And it wasn’t just the victory, it was the manner in which he won it that was impressive.

“It’s going to be a big ask and he’s probably going to be among the outsiders, but there is only one Guineas and so we’ve decided to roll the dice.

“It’s going to be ultra competitive and tough, but it’s exciting because we don’t know where his bottom is.

“And it’s what you get up early in the morning for – races like this. It’s big for myself and the team at home. Hopefully we can enjoy it, although I’m sure they’ll be nerves as well.”

While Knight hopes Checkandchallenge still has another gear or two within his armoury, there is a question mark as to how he will perform on the turf.

His two outings to date have come on the All-Weather. And while Knight has been impressed with what he has seen at home, the unknown will only truly be answered when the starting gates open.

“It’s true his two runs have been on the All-Weather and there is an argument to say can he produce it on the turf,” said Knight, who was once fellow Newmarket trainer Ed Dunlop’s assistant.

“We are only going to find out when the race gets going on Saturday.

“All I can say is from the couple of bits he has done at home we’ve been impressed. Maybe there is a slight concern with the ground but he’s got a nice action so we are hopeful he’ll cope with it well.”

Bookmakers consider Charlie Appleby’s Native Trail to be the strong odds-on favourite to land his trainer a first colts Classic, yet Knight feels it is more than a one-horse race.

“Native Trail is a big talent but it’s a strong field,” he said. “Charlie’s other horse (Coroebus) and Richard Fahey’s horse (Perfect Power) is a Group 1 winner. You’ve got Aidan O’Brien’s horses as well so it looks like another tough race.”