Time for the first Classics this weekend with Newmarket’s Guineas meeting.
Some quick thoughts on the main races below plus a few selections at other races on the main weekend cards.
Not a betting race for me but very interested to see the reappearance of Hot Streak who recorded a fabulous time when winning a Group 3 at Ascot last year. Entirely likely he may need this (and may find ground a tad too quick) and by jockey booking’s appears to be owner’s second string behind the fragile but very talented Pearl Secret.. One to watch with a view to the Kings Stand at Royal Ascot
Trading Leather and Penglai Pavilion some way ahead on ratings but struggling to think of any ex-Fabre inmate who has kept a similar level after moving stables for Godolphin (Sky Hunter already disappointing this season) which turns me agains the latter. Trading Leather is the form horse but always looks the sort who may need a run to put him right. He may be too good for these despite this but looks too short to take that chance on.
The 2,000 Guineas has not been kind to me for Ante Post betting with Berkshire and Be Ready both disappointing on their comebacks and not reaching the race.
Kingman looks unquestionably the horse to beat after his reappearance run ( Gosden horses seemed well forward that weekend he won so others could catch up a little) and is starting to get into value territory at 7/4
Toormore and War Command look the most viable each way picks. The former always just does enough in races – a decent trait to have and we probably don’t know his full potential yet. The latter was a stunning winner at Royal Ascot last year but didn’t quite match the same standard after.
I’m not a follower of O’Brien stable hype horses and Australia far too short for me despite the ‘stable vibes’. I’m afraid I don’t rate Joseph O’Brien as highly as others either – and often think there’s value in backing Ryan Moore or Seamie Heffernan on perceived stable 2nd or 3rd strings instead (Ruler of the World, Was, War Command –all recent examples).
Kingston Hill looks like he is using this race as a springboard for the Derby so wouldn’t be surprised to see him being a bit short of 100% tomorrow
Noozhoh Canarias is another worthy of mention who travels from Spain for this. I don’t doubt he has the class for this level on what we saw at Longchamp last year but his style of running doesn’t scream out that he is a miler and 6-7 furlongs may be his optimum. If he can settle early his chances increase of getting a place are increased
So while it’s no recommendation it’s Kingman likeliest winner for me but Toormore and War Command both making some each way appeal at around 8/1 or 9/1 with ¼ odds widely available
Stars Above Me could have been let in slightly lightly here with a mark of 88 but firms take no chances around 3/1 mark. Meritocracy was given far too much to do in his comeback run by Jamie Spencer and can be rated somewhat better – expecting him to come on for that run as well he rates a bet at 10/1
1pt ew Meritocracy @10/1 (BetVictor, Tote, Betfred)
Having put up Postponed as a value outsider for the Derby, he needs to win this to cement that and I would expect plenty of improvement over this 10 furlong trip. Cloudscape is most feared as he won what looked a very hot hcap on this course last time (expect to see a few winners come out of that – the second has already franked the form)
I think Postponed is definitely the one to beat though and overpriced at 7/2 with some firms
2pts Postponed 7/2 (Corals) – 3/1 also acceptable
I’m always more of a viewer than a backer at this meeting but with Glens Melody having run already this week there is a real ‘filthy’ ew here on Cockney Sparrow behind the fav.
Granted, Annie Power is clearly the one to beat but we’ve already had shocks here this week. The emphasis is clearly on the place side of the bet as value though and even if Glens Melody were to pull out the case would be even stronger with only a small rule 4 deduction
2pts ew Cockney Sparrow 7/1 or better (but be warned because of the nature of this race – some bookies may impose ew limits as it’s not really the sort of bet it would be in their best interests to take- so take what you can!)
Regal Encore has the look of a bit of plot here and 10/1 early show with Ladbrokes looks a bit big. Stable form has been a concern all season but he’s always looked better than a 130 horse and worth taking a bit of a chance on
0.75 pts ew Regal Encore 10/1 (Ladbrokes)
More exaggerated waiting tactics from Jamie Spencer could have cost Café Society two wins last season and he could be a horse to follow this season. He runs in the 2.05 Newmarket and will be of interest but as its first time up this season wouldn’t want to see him too short when prices go up
The 3.50 is the 1,000 Guineas and a much more open looking affair than the colts equivalent.
Clive Brittain’s typically bullish comments about his Rizeena have seen her price halve in recent weeks despite only having racecourse gallops. She is a lovely filly but I do have this big doubt in my mind concerning the trip. Her pedigree screams out 7 furlongs and although she did finish 2nd over a mile on her last start – the first half of that race was slowly run and it wasn’t a true test. A strongly run mile could leave her a tiny bit vulnerable close home (worth also noting that in 3 attempts so far at hq – one on July course – she hasn’t yet won) . I would also have much preferred to see a jockey on board who has her ridden before.
Winter fav Miss France has to overcome a below par reappearance run. Andre Fabre always has to be respected whatever he sends across the channel but her price looks skinny now.
Ihtimal is my principal hope. She wouldn’t have been suited by the slow early gallop when behind Rizeena last year and was catching on her close home. She is fit from runs in Dubai and maybe more forward than most at this time of year. A slight concern is a couple of points walk in the market on Betfair in last couple of days – I hope that isn’t due to anything she did in a gallop a couple of days ago.
I make another O’Brien ‘second string’ with Ryan Moore on board the principle danger. Again fit from a run, Bracelet got better the further she went over 7 furlongs at Leopardstown and this trip seems sure to suit much more on pedigree
Both Ihtimal and Bracelet are horse who should stay further than this mile and that is going to be important for me with a strong pace likely. (Apart from Rizeena, Lucky Kristale and Vorda are two others who may have distinct stamina limitations)
1pt ew each Ihtimal 10/1 or better; Bracelet 12/1 or better
Good luck over the weekend and thanks for reading
(blog back by special request of one follower on Tues night for Chester Cup day)