We have had to wait a month longer than usual but the finally the classic season can begin and it does so at Newmarket on Saturday afternoon, when the pick of the 3 year boys line up for the 2000 Guineas, an eagerly awaited renewal of the race.
There are cards at Lingfield and at Newcastle over the course of the afternoon but the centre of attention will be on Newmarket. Here is our complete preview of the opening classic of the 2020 campaign.
3.35 Newmarket: 2000 Guineas
The first classic of the season is the 2000 Guineas for the 3 year old boys over the straight mile at HQ. There are 15 runners lining up for this Group 1 contest and we have a potential superstar in Pinatubo heading the market at current odds of a shade below evens.
Pinatubo won all 6 starts as a 2 year old including the Group 1 Dewhurst here and the Group 1 National Stakes over in Ireland, when coming clear in a top quality field by 9 lengths. That was a remarkable performance and, provided he has trained on and gets the extra furlong (this is the first attempt at 1 mile), he’s surely going to be very difficult to stop.
Arizona is the main Aiden O’Brien hope and he should be in the mix although he does have it all to do against the hot favourite. I’m a little concerned that his top trainer won’t be at Newmarket to oversee operations but reports from Ballydoyle suggest he’s in great form. That run when 2 lengths back in the Dewhurst was probably the closest any horse came to beating the Godolphin superstar and he’s fancied by many to be playing second fiddle again today. He does a good draw from which to grab the stands rail and, if he sees out the trip, he should be involved in the finish.
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Wichita is the second of the O’Brien runners and he was 3rd in Dewhurst behind the aforementioned pair. I don’t see any reason why he will reverse the placing with either of those although he did win the Group 3 Tattersalls here by 7 lengths the time before.
Kameko has been very well backed recently and he comes here as a Group 1 winner having landed the Futurity at Newcastle on the all weather. That run puts him firmly in the picture here but a couple of narrow defeats in Group 2 and Group 3 company on his previous starts on grass are a tad concerning in what looks to be top renewal of the race.
Kinross created a very favourable impression on debut when landing a 7 furlong novice event by 8 lengths, recording a RPR of 101 in the process, the highest of any in the field on debut. He then disappointed on his only other start when 5th behind Kameko in the Futurity so he’d have to improve from that run to feature here.
The second of Charlie Appleby’s runners is Al Suhail who travels so well through his races but has only won 1 of 4 races, going down narrowly in a pair of Group races. He has an awkward head carriage and his quirks make him opposable.
The selection is the Saeed Bin Suroor trained Military March who is the current favourite for the Derby. Many have said he may lack the pace for this but I couldn’t disagree more. He may prove to be a better horse over slightly further but he is out of Danehill who was top class sprinter / miler but also has stamina assured with his sire being New Approach.
He has seen the racetrack twice, winning both races, the first on the July course over 7 furlongs and then over course & distance when out battling Al Suhail who reopposes here. That was in a Group 3 and whilst he’s only the 6th highest rated in the field, all of the 5 ahead of him have had more runs. He recorded a RPR of 87 when making a good impression on debut but then a RPR of 115 on his next start, with only 1 horse recording a higher RPR on his 2nd start.
The rain that’s around Newmarket should suit too and his prominent style on a course that suits front runners is another massive plus. There are stamina doubts around many of the leading fancies and with a fast pace assured, he’s one of the few that will get home & handle the stiff finish. Whether he has the pace to hold off Arizona and, especially, Pinatubo is debatable so we’ll also take him in the ‘without Pinatubo & Arizona’ market.
PLACED – Back Military March (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 21.00 Betfair Sportsbook BOG (⅕ odds 1-4)
PLACED – Back Military March (e/w) in the ‘without Pinatubo & Arizona’ market for a 1.5/10 stake at 8.00 Betfair Sportsbook (⅕ odds 1-3)
Back them here: