We are into May which means that the Classics season is upon us. The first truly big race of the flat racing season comes from Newmarket on Saturday which is the 2000 Guineas. We have got a full preview of that race and a bet in one of the earlier supporting offerings. We’ll begin with the big race.
The first classic of the season is upon us with the 3 year old colts racing over the Newmarket mile for the 2000 Guineas.
This year sees a field of 19 go to post, the biggest field since 2010 and, with a field of such a size, the question has to be asked about where the pace will come from. It looks like the pace is in the centre with Kick On and Urban Icon drawn 9 and 10. Any horse drawn on the wings might be facing an uphill battle in one of the most open renewals in recent memory.
Aiden O’Brien has won 4 of the last 7 runnings of this (2 of the last 3 too) and has the 2 market leaders in Ten Sovereigns and Magna Grecia. The mount of Ryan Moore is Ten Sovereigns which is hardly surprising given he won all 3 as a juvenile including the Middle Park. However, all wins were over 6 furlongs and breeding suggests that an extra quarter of a mile might just stretch him.
Magna Grecia is ridden by Donnacha O’Brien and he too has some excellent winning 2 of his 3 starts including the Group 1 Futurity on softish ground at the backend of last season. The big worry here is his draw in stall 17.
Talking of draws, stall 1 is the only strong reason to dismiss Madhmoon. He has drifted in the market since being turned over on his reappearance but his 2 wins last years give him every chance. His trainer is pretty bullish too suggesting it’ll take a good one to lower his colours.
The horse with arguably the best form is Advertise, the mount of Frankie Dettori. He’s a winner of 3 of his 5 starts to date with only the top class Calyx and Too Darn Hot finishing in front of him. The run behind Too Darn Hot was in the 7 furlong Dewhurst, a key trial for this. Like Ten Sovereigns, there are some stamina doubts but if he overcomes them, a big run is on the cards.
There’s plenty to talk about from the Group 3 Craven last month where the front 4 all turn up here. Skardu was the winner, giving him a 2 from 2 career record, both wins coming at this track on good to firm ground. He had Momkin back in 2nd and Set Piece in 3rd that day.
The horse back in 4th that day was Royal Marine from the Saeed Bin Suroor stable and he was sent off a well fancied 13/8 favourite that day. He pulled really hard, didn’t settle, had to be switched wide and, in the end, ran a race full of promise despite letting favourite backers down. Much better can be expected today as the trainer puts a hood on (should help him settle), the faster pace will suit and stall 11, right next to the pace, is ideal. He also handled the undulations of Newmarket, particularly the dip, well enough in the Craven so there are no concerns on that front. Remember he’s a Group 1 winner as a 2 year old beating Broome over in France who has since won the Ballysax by 8 lengths so quotes of 12/1 are too big.
In such a big field, there’s only other to throw our money at in John Gosden’s Kick On, ridden by Oisin Murphy. Admittedly, I’m sure Gosden would prefer to be running Too Darn Hot in this but instead he has to rely on the Group 3 Feilden Stakes winner and, despite his odds, he’s no forlorn hope. Likely to be one of the pacesetters down the middle of the track, he could prove tough to pass in a race where stamina, as much as speed, is a big asset. In the Feilden here a few weeks back, he showed a great attitude making all and fending off the runner up, the pair coming clear. He’s twice been beaten in a 4 race career including behind Magna Grecia in the Futurity but he’s out of Marju which means he needs good to firm ground. His 2 defeats had soft in the going, his Feilden win was on good to firm. This is a horse that is track proven, will definitely stay, and has the ground in his favour so cannot be left unbacked at 20/1.
Back Royal Marine (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 13.00 Paddy Power BOG (⅕ odds 1-5)
Back Kick On (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 21.00 Skybet BOG (⅕ odds 1-5)
There’s some other good racing on this card and the first race in particular appeals.
The Spring Lodge (formerly the Sussex Stakes) handicap over 9 furlongs has attracted a relatively small field of 10 runners.
This is a 0-105 rated Class 2 handicap which says Al Muffrih holding the position of favourite. His place at the head of the market is based purely on potential as he’s a lightly raced type, from the Haggas yard and ridden by Silvestre De Sousa, but he’s never been seen out of novice company. He could be anything but at around 3/1, the price is a bit short to be taking such a risk.
Power Of Darkness is the 2nd favourite here based on his run behind Beringer here a few weeks back. He’s gone up 2lb for that which may look lenient but it could turn out to be harsh as that was a very messy race. This is tougher again as he’s stepping up from 0-100 company.
Preference is for Sir Michael Stoute’s only runner on the Newmarket card today, Elector. Sir Michael is the king at improving older horses, especially over middle distances, and this well treated 4 year old is fancied to land this prize en route to a crack at bigger and better things in pattern company. This is his first run of the campaign and it’s interesting that he’s been gelded over the winter, something that often sees marked improvement in a horse. He has enough in the form book from his 3 year old campaign but even better is expected this term.
Beaten on his reappearance last term at this track but he matched the winner Nordic Lights for a long way before fading into 4th. The selection races off 93 today but note that Nordic Lights is now rated 109 whilst the other pair to finish in front are rated 105 and 104, and were in receipt of 7lbs too that day. He then ran Raa Atoll (105-rated, in receipt of 7lbs) to 2 lengths at Nottingham before being deemed good enough to run at Royal Ascot in the King Edward VII, a Group 2 race, where he was sent off at 14/1. He didn’t do too well in the circumstances but has since finished 3rd on 3 occasions in handicaps off this mark. He ran behind the classy Wissahickon at York, followed that up in a messy 5 runner race at Kempton before doing well in 3rd behind the Lincoln winner Auxerre over an inadequate trip. With the trip ideal, the track holding no fears and Stoute’s ability to improve an older horse, he looks a superb each way bet.
WON AT 9/1 – Back Elector (e/w) for a 1.5/10 stake at 7.50 William Hill BOG (⅕ odds 1-3)
Back it here: