It seems ages since I last did the Monday article. Yet it’s only two weeks ago. My right kidney has been removed and the operation was successful. I’m still feeling sore and get tired quickly but I’m 100% better than I was last week.
This week I'm looking forward rather than back. On Saturday we have the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket. Followed a day later by the 1.000 Guineas. You can read my thoughts on both races and find my Monday’s tips inside…
Qipco 2000 Guineas
There’s been plenty of action in the ante post market for the first colts classic. Firstly, the William Haggas trained Skardu entered the 2,000 Guineas picture with a good win in the Craven Stakes.
Then it was announced that long time favourite To Darn Hot would be forced to miss the race as he hadn't recovered from a recent injury on time.
On Sunday it was reported that Greenham winner Mohaather will also be forced to miss the race due to a setback.
Advertise won three of his five starts as a juvenile, including the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes. The only two horses to lower his colours are Calyx and To Darn Hot. Frankie Dettori who is 2 from 2 on the horse will take the ride. In an open looking year he has to be considered a major contender.
Leopardstown’s 2,000 Guineas Trial, was won by the Aidan O’Brien trained Never No More who beat odds on favourite Madhmoon by ½ length. On the face of it, this looked a disappointing performance by the favourite. However, he was trying to give a race fit rival 3lb and was dropping back to 7f. It was also the colt’s first go on soft ground.
I thought the bookies overreacted to his performance by pushing him out to as big 25/1. He's nowhere near that price now and is as short as 8/1. The return to a mile and a sounder surface should make him a different proposition at Newmarket.
Aidan O’Brien Holds The Key
Aidan O’Brien now has the front two in the ante-post market in Magna Grecia and Ten Sovereigns.
The trainer has had 5 winners from 25 runners in the race. All five of his winners shared the following traits:
Days Since Last Run: 180 to 300 days
Highest Class Run: Group 1
Highest Class Win: Group 1 or Group 2
5 winners from 10 runners 50% +16.38
Magna Grecia – Bids to do what Saxon Warrior (2018) & Camelot (2012) did and win the Doncaster’s 1m Vertem Futurity and then go onto land the 2,000 Guineas. The son of Invincible Spirit gets the mile well and has been trained for this race since Doncaster. A very solid contender.
Ten Sovereigns – Is a different type to his stablemate. When last seen he landed the 6f Group 1 Middle Park Stakes. The son of No Nay Never looked a speedy sort that day but his dam won over 1m 2f when trained in France which gives his backers hope for the mile. Still there must be stamina doubts about the trip for the colt.
Verdict: A few weeks ago this looked a one horse race. Now it's as open as the fillies version. The 7/2 available about Magna Grecia looks fair enough to me and he could get a bit bigger should Ryan Moore opt for Ten Sovereigns. As an each way alternative, I wouldn't put anyone off the claims of Madhmoon.
Qipco 1000 Guineas
A wide open race with the bookies going 7/2 the field.
Qabala, trained by Roger Varian, stormed home to win the Nell Gwyn Stakes at the Craven Meeting. You have to go back to 2006 to find the last filly to do the Nell Gwyn/1000 Guineas Double but she could do it. The extra furlong can bring out further improvement in her. Her winning time wasn’t great but she has the scope for further progress. You can see why she’s a best priced 7/2.
Leopardstown’s 1000 Guineas Trial was a triumph for the Shelia Lavery trained Lady Kaya. However, in terms of the 1,000 Guineas it may pay to consider the third home Iridessa. Last year’s Newmarket Fillies Mile winner was making her seasonal reappearance over 7f. Weak in the market that day and she was also racing on soft ground. Better ground at Newmarket should see her in a much better light. Looks a solid each way contender.
Ryan Filly Under The Radar
East, trained by Kevin Ryan, won a Hamilton novice on her racecourse debut. Before going on to win a Group 3 at Saint-Cloud the following month. She ended last season finishing runner-up to Newspaperofrecord in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf. No match for the smart winner but she didn’t get the best of runs and would have finished a bit closer had she done so.
Not a certain runner at Newmarket as she could head for the French version but the 16/1 available looks better value to me than the 9/1 about Just Wonderful. Her trainer hasn’t had a runner in the race in the past decade but he did train the 2000 Guineas runner-up in 2013.
Aidan O’Brien’s In Fairyland
Aidan O’Brien has had three winners of the 1,000 Guineas in the past 11 years. As ever, he's got several entries in this years race. His best two on form look to be Just Wonderful and Fairyland:
Just Wonderful – Was a decisive winner of the Rockfel Stakes at the track last September but could only finish 4th in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Churchill on her last run. The return to Newmarket and a sounder surface will suit her.
Fairyland – A winner of four of her five starts last season, including the 6f Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes. The daughter of Kodiac has to be a doubtful stayer on pedigree. What's not in doubt is her toughness as she showed last season and she has the best juvenile form on offer. If she’s trained on the 12/1 still available looks too tempting to ignore.
Verdict: Fairyland looks worth chancing despite her stamina doubts. East, looks to have solid place claims should she run here rather than head to France. Iridessa is another each way contender but may lack the speed of others in the field.
7:10 – Dalton, trained by Julie Camacho, makes his seasonal reappearance but goes well fresh – 2 wins from 3 runs when returning from a 121 to 365-day absence. He also goes well on a sound surface having won two of his four starts on good to firm going. The 5-year-old ended last season beaten just a length into 4th in a Class 2 handicap at the end of last season. Clearly not much in hand of the handicapper but this represents a drop in class.
Black Isle Boy, won this race last year off 2lb higher. Last years success came on good to soft but he’s won twice on good to firm, so I doubt the quick going will inconvenience him. Another who goes well fresh – 2 wins from 3 runs, when racing between 121 and 365-days since his last run. He’s too nicely handicapped to ignore.
Add in the inform Pennsylvania Dutch, whose looked a revitalised horse winning both this seasons starts including over C&D, and the well-handicapped Mr Wagyu and we have the makings of competitive handicap.
Still Dalton & Black Isle Boy can give us a good run for our money.
Black Isle Boy
6:30 – Allegiant, created a good impression when making all to win on handicap debut at Epsom last summer. He was then very disappointing when beaten at 8/13, at Brighton, nine days later. Maybe the the race came to quick after Epsom. That win came off a 199-day lay off and the 4-year-old returns from a 202-day absence today. Maybe he’s the type to catch fresh. The unexposed Just Brilliant looks the one to beat but the selection can give him a race.
Until next week.