The Guineas weekend, or Qipco Guineas Festival to give it its official title, is upon as Newmarket hosts the 2000 Guineas and 1000 Guineas this Saturday and Sunday. There are some pretty tasty supporting races to be enjoyed as well on both days and no one will be surprised to learn that I am getting involved. In this post I will deal with the two Classics, the rest of the weekend is on a separate post.
The Group One 2000 Guineas is due off at 3.35 on Saturday with 19 colts due to line-up. It is a pretty open renewal in the end but we won’t dwell on those that aren’t here rather those that are. I am on Royal Marine at 7-1 and 9-1 as I still think he is the one to take out of the Craven Stakes here last month. He should get a strongly run race here which I think will suit and all being well won’t find the trouble in running he did last month; Christophe Soumillon surely won’t make that mistake again. It is no surprise to see a couple from Ballydoyle at the head of the market in the shape of Magna Grecia and Ten Sovereigns (Ryan Moore rides) but you have to take their well-being on trust, though it wouldn’t be the first time they have sent one here to win on seasonal debut! Advertise is another who will be making his 3yo debut. He has to be considered bearing in mind the two colts that got the better of him in his five race 2yo campaign were Too Darn Hot and Calyx. Trainer Martyn Meade certainly believes his Dewhurst runner-up is overpriced. Madhmoon was beaten at odds-on in the Listed Leopardstown trial last month and I am not convinced about the quality of the form of his G.2 win there as a 2yo either. The colt has questions to answer for me now.
The Group One 1000 Guineas on Sunday at 3.35 has 15 fillies lining-up. I have been on Skitter Scatter since April and have the 10-1. She is a member of my Dirty Dozen and as I have said several times before she did nothing but improve throughout her 2yo campaign culminating in victory in the Group One 7f Moyglare Stud Stakes. Reportedly all has gone well with her preparations and she arrives with every chance. I think the step up to a mile should see further progression and I am quietly confident I have been sitting on a winning ticket for a while. Fingers crossed she will scatter her rivals all over Newmarket! Winner of the Nell Gwyn Qabala is an obvious danger on that form but there is a nagging doubt in the back of my mind that the extra furlong may be against her. Aidan O’Brien has a surprisingly bad record in the race with fillies making their 3yo debut (has a great record in 2000 with the colts on their seasonal bow). Minding did win for the yard without a prep but plenty of others that have tried have failed – see Happily last season. It is a stat that definitely goes against Just Wonderful and Fairyland.