The Guineas Festival gets underway at Newmarket on Friday on the Rowley Mile. It’s a decent card, though a couple of the races are a bit short on numbers, and there are bets to be had. It is the start of a busy few days with the first Classics over the weekend.
Best bets for the QIPCO Guineas Festival at Newmarket – day one
They get underway at 1.15 with the 5f My Odds Boost On Betfair British EBF Maiden Fillies' Stakes for two-year-old fillies. All eight make their debut so there is not a scrap of form to consider it’s all about the pedigrees. The one that is bred to be all about speed is Miss Marianne. She is by Showcasing, who won the G.2 Gimcrack Stakes, and was a Juddmonte homebred by top-class sprinter Oasis Dream out of Listed six-furlong winner Arabesque. The dam is Little Voice who as a fair five-furlong handicap sprinter in her day by Scat Daddy, who won Graded sprints as a two-year-old in America, out of the mare Excelente, who was sired by the Champion Aussie speedster Exceed and Excel. Trainer Robert Cowell knows a trick or two, though strike-rate with juveniles is a concern, and Hollie Doyle is doing the steering and I am having a speculative punt at the 20-1 each-way
At 1.50 the Listed 1m2f Best Odds On The Betfair Exchange Newmarket Stakes has just the four runners but they all look potentially decent. I like Nations Pride and the colt is the one for me here off the back of his win in Meydan in the 1m2f Jumeirah Derby that was also his Turf debut. He won well that day looking to relish every yard of the trip, beating odds-on stablemate New Kingdom amongst others, and should be backed. Apparently, the team at Moulton Paddocks considered pitching him into one of the lower-key Derby trials. I grabbed a bit of Evens early Thursday.
At 2.25 we have the Listed Betfair King Charles II Stakes over 7f and Appleby and Buick have another jolly in the shape of Noble Truth. I have tipped this colt a few times already and it should be remembered he only just missed out winning the G.1 Qatar Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere las year. As I have said before he has talent but also has quirks and clearly did not enjoy himself in the Saudi Derby at King Abdulaziz over a mile on the Dirt track last time; As Charlie Appleby said this week on the Godolphn website “You can put a line through the Saudi Derby as Frankie Dettori said he hated it right from the word go. He has put in some nice pieces of work prior to this and, if he runs anywhere near his best two-year-old form, he is the one they have to beat.”. I can forgive that run and took the standout 6-4 with Power Thursday morning as even with the 3lb extra to carry he should prove too strong for this line-up (still has an Irish 2,000 Guineas entry).
Race of the day is the Group Two Betfair Exchange Jockey Club Stakes and it looks at the mercy of my old mate Yibir. He should have won the G.1 Sheema Classic on seasonal debut and if it had been ten yards further, he would have. The Breeders' Cup Turf winner is unbackable though at the prices. Talking on the Godolphin website Appleby said “He carries a penalty for his Breeders’ Cup win but this looks a good stepping stone towards the G1 Man o’War Stakes back at Belmont next month. This is a decent prize in itself and fits nicely into his programme.”
The 1m2f Betfair Maiden Fillies' Stakes is interesting with seven three-year-old fillies lining-up that are either lightly raced thus far or making debut. The three debutants are the ones to watch for me. The first two are Light Of Peace a daughter of Dubawi out of Group winner Majestic Queen for the Charlie Appleby yard and Complementary being a son of Churchill out of an unraced mare that has foaled six winners to date, Rab Havlin rides for Gosden with Dettori up at Newcastle tonight. The other is the other Gosden runner the Juddmonte owned and bred filly Elegant Verse who is by Galileo and out of Special Duty the mare that won the 1,000 Guineas and Poule d'Essai des Pouliches in her career somewhat unbelievably being awarded both races in the Stewards room after photo finishes! They all could be anything as they say so a watching brief is advised as there might be one or two to follow as the season progresses.Be lucky