Newmarket: Up All Night To Get Lucky
The first classic of the season takes place on Saturday and Gaz is tipping a 22/1 shot to cause an upset in the big race.
I’ve been looking forward to the Guineas meeting for some time now and can’t wait for the action to get started. It is a little disappointing that most of the supporting races have attracted small fields, as that makes it tough to find betting value. There are still some interesting contests on the card, while the big one on Saturday looks like a cracker.
Change Of Luck
As usual Aidan O’Brien enters the 2000 Guineas (15:40) with a very strong hand. At the time of writing the Tipperary based trainer is responsible for not only the favourite, but three of the first six in the betting. All three are very interesting and you can make a strong case for each of them. Van Gogh was impressive when winning the Group 1 Criterium International at Saint-Cloud in October. Prior to that he had a a decent run at this venue when second to One Ruler in the Autumn Stakes. He had a troubled passage that day and may have got closer with a clearer run. The concern for Van Gogh is his best runs have come on soft ground. His dam did win an Oaks on Good To Firm so he should handle fast ground, but he needs to prove it.
Battleground is the second of the Ballydoyle runners and he has a nice profile. He has shown a tendency to be slow away from the starting gates and that proved costly last time out when he finished second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. After being slow away he was forced to race wide and he was always going to find it difficult from that position. He’s an impeccably bred Colt out of a high class Mare in Found and with Frankie Dettori aboard should run well.
The last of the Aidan O’Brien contingent is favourite Wembley. He’s been an eye-catcher in his last two runs and looks like he’ll relish the step up to a mile. He was beaten by Thunder Moon in the National Stakes at the Curragh in September but he had a troubled run that day. Next time out in the Dewhurst Stakes he turned the tables with Thunder Moon and just found stablemate St. Marks Basilica too good on the day. Based on those two runs I think he has the measure of Thunder Moon. Chindit and Poetic Flare also ran in the Dewhurst, but were well beaten and have a lot to find with Wembley. On the balance of form he’s a deserved favourite.
Coolmore aren’t the only owners to be triple represented in this race. Goldolphin also run three and again all have decent chances. Naval Crown is the outsider at 66/1 and will likely set the pace in this race. He’s no mug and if given too much rope could be hard to pull back. As mentioned previously One Ruler beat Van Gogh towards the end of last season and he’s the shortest Goldolphin runner in the betting. After that win in the Autumn Stakes he went on to finish second in the Vertem Futurity Stakes which is decent form. He’s been overlooked by stable jockey William Buick but it must have been a flip of a coin decision. Buick has instead chosen Master Of The Seas who won the Craven Stakes over course and distance two weeks ago. He really impressed me that day as I pointed out in a review of the Craven meeting. He was free early on, and then found trouble in the middle part of the race, but managed to overcome both of those negatives to win quite cosily. William Buick never had to get to serious with him and I really liked how he hit the line. He was very nearly my selection in this race.
Mutasaabeq was another who impressed when winning during the Craven meeting. He’s been supplemented for this race since and been very well backed over the last couple of days. He looks to handle any ground and should have no problem staying the mile. He’s definitely a big player in this race.
The one I’ve backed here is Lucky Vega for the Jessica Harrington team. This Colt has been unlucky in his last couple of runs, and if he can get a safe passage he should be involved at the business end of the race. He won a maiden at Naas when beating Battlegorund into fifth place. He finished second in a Group 2 on his next start before going on to win the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes in quite impressive fashion. After that he was fifth in the aforementioned National Stakes behind Thunder Moon, Wembley and Master Of The Seas. That doesn’t tell the full story though as he found trouble just as the race was developing. On that run he only has about 2.5 lengths to find with the three horses that beat him, and I think that’s quite possible with a clear run. The step up to a mile is a slight concern but he’s given me the impression that it will be no issue and at 22/1 he looks a brilliant bet.
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Good Day For Boys In Blue?
As mentioned above, Goldolphin have good strength in depth in the big race, but they’ve also got a strong hand in some other races. Creative Force is the favourite for the opening race, the Read Ryan Moore On Betting Betfair Handicap (13:15). He’s up 8lb after his win at the Craven meeting but should be able to overcome that. He beat Rohaan easily that day (5 lengths) and he has come out since and won comfortably to frank the form. Creative Force is two from two over course and distance and will love the fast ground. Overall he’s hard to knock and should get favourite backers off to a good start. Over the course of the day four other Godolphin horses are favourites and all have great chances. Magical Land in the last being the best chance of another winner in my opinion.
13:15 Newmarket – Creative Force (10/11) Win [Nap]
15:40 Newmarket – Lucky Vega (22/1) Each Way (William Hill 5 Places)
17:25 Newmarket – Magical Land (2/1) Win
Creative Force/Magical Land Double @ 4.7/1