The 2,000 Guineas from Newmarket is today’s highlight as 19 colts will hurtle down the Rowley Mile in search of classic glory. The market is headed by Aidan O’Brien’s Ten Sovereigns (7/2 with BetVictor) who was unbeaten in three starts as a juvenile over 6f including in Group 1 company in the Middle Park Stakes here back in September.
If you are backing the favourite, you will be keeping your fingers crossed his stamina holds out as he goes into unchartered territory coming out of the dip. Ryan Moore seems to think he will stay a mile as he has chosen Ten Sovereigns over stablemate Magna Grecia – 4/1 with BetVictor – who has already won over a mile as a two-year-old in the Vertem Trophy at Doncaster. If there is a superstar on show in the Guineas, it is likely to be Ten Sovereigns, but I just feel his stamina may give way over this stiff mile.
My two against the field are Madhmoon and Royal Marine (3.35) with the each way vote going to the latter for Saeed Bin Suroor who fits his colt with a hood for the first time today. The selection is another Gp 1 winning juvenile who failed to handle the dirt at Meydan earlier in the year. He only finished fourth in his trial over today’s C&D, but he met trouble in running in the Craven Stakes and was finishing best of all. He is 10/1 with BetVictor who are betting four places on the race.
Al Muffrih (1.50) has been gelded since disappointing at Sandown on his second and final start as a three-year-old for William Haggas but remains open to significant improvement after just the three career starts. He doesn’t look “thrown in” from an opening mark of 91 and he gets further than today’s 9f trip, but he could make up into a very smart performer this term. At 5/1 with BetVictor I would be disappointed if he didn’t run a big race.
There is rain forecast for the area, but it is unlikely to be soft enough for Young Rascal and Defoe – winner of the corresponding race 12 months ago – disappointed at Newbury on his reappearance. Connections of Coronet (2.55) have decided to allow their mare to race on as a 5-year-old as they look for a, hitherto, elusive Group 1 success. John Gosden’s mare is just short of the very top class but she is tough and consistent and did win first time out last season. The selection is 2/1 with BetVictor and Frankie Dettori takes the ride.
My two against the field in the 6f Handicap for 3-y-olds are Concierge – who is fitted with cheek-pieces for the first time – and Almufti (4.10) with marginal preference for the latter who I feel will appreciate dropping back in trip having finished third over 7f on his reappearance for Hugo Palmer.
The listed Newmarket Stakes is a cracker despite only four runners going to post. Walkinthesand finished runner up in the Feilden Stakes on his reappearance and today’s additional furlong should see him in an even better light. That is the best form on offer, but UAE Jewel (4.45) looked a potential star when winning the Wood Ditton on debut over a mile at the Craven meeting and the step up to today’s 10f should suit this well-bred colt who holds an entry in the Dante later in the month.
It is also the final day of the Punchestown Festival and Blue Templer must go close as he bids to follow up his success on the opening day over today’s idiosyncratic Banks course. The vote, however, goes to Hurricane Darwin (2.35) who can reverse C&D form with Josie’s Orders from earlier in the season at the revised weights.
Benie Des Dieux (3.50) fell at the last at Cheltenham with the race at her mercy on her belated seasonal reappearance but compensation awaits in the Mares’ Champion Hurdle.
Two horses catch my eye in the 3m handicap Chase from near the foot of the weights and preference for Young Paddymc (5.00) over British raider Onefortheroadtom is marginal. The selection was a winner here over slightly shorter on his penultimate start and he must go close carrying just 9st 13lbs this afternoon.
At Goodwood Cristal Spirit (1.35) looked ready for a step up in trip when a fast-finishing second at Doncaster having his first start for George Baker. The 4-y-old is only 1lb higher this afternoon.
Klassique (2.05) was improving at a rate of knots last term and she is taken to land the listed Fillies’ race for William Haggas. The selection is 15/8 with BetVictor and I hope it’s a good day for jockey Harry Bentley.