Few trainers get to saddle a live Classic hope having had just nine previous runners.
But that’s what Owen Burrows did in the 2017 QIPCO 2000 Guineas at Newmarket and he nearly hit the jackpot with Massaat, who chased home Galileo Gold.
That’s as close as champion trainer John Gosden has come to winning the colts’ Classic – and he has held a licence for 30 years!
In fairness, Burrows’s circumstances were different from most rookie trainers
He had taken over the reins from Barry Hills at Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum’s Kingwood House Stables in Lambourn in 2016 with a team of just under 50 – with half of them being two-year-olds.
Burrows had previously spent a dozen years as assistant to Sir Michael Stoute after riding as a conditional over jumps.
“I’m in a very privileged position, you can only dream of starting with team like this,” Burrows said at then outset. “Great faith has been put in me and I just want to repay that.
“Quality is the thing. We’ll try and win as many big races as we can – that’s what Sheikh Hamdan is all about.”
Unfortunately, Massaat never ran again after his near-miss at Headquarters and Burrows is still seeking a first Group 1 triumph. Perhaps Minzaal, winner of the Gimcrack in 2020, will put that right for him this year.