It’s all about
HQ Newmarket this weekend for the Qipco Guineas Festival with the first
Classics of the season the 2,000 Guineas
Saturday and 1,000 Guineas
As for the Guineas I have of course been on since last year having taken 2-1 about Churchill in the 2,000 Guineas and 11-2 about Rhododendron for the 1,000 Guineas. My thoughts in full can be read on the Classics page and nothing has changed. As I said back in the winter: 'The bloodlines are quite frankly just about as good as they get and thus far from what we have seen on the track both are good horses. They could turn out to be remembered as excellent if they go on to mop up more races this season including their respective Classics and at this stage they look un-opposable in the 1,000 Guineas and 2,000 Guineas to my eye.' Neither of my fancies have of course been seen as yet this season and from the trials, if I had to take one, I would add Urban Fox has an each-way chance in the 1,000 at a big price having placed up (tipped on here) behind Dabyah in the Fred Darling Stakes at Newbury.
As for the rest of the two cards…………………..
The Group Three Palace House Stakes at 2.20 won’t take long over the five furlongs. Profitable won this last year and was then in with the best of the speedsters winning the G.1 King’s Stand at Royal Ascot and running well enough in the G.1 Nunthorpe and Prix De L'Abbaye. Clive Cox has clearly aimed him at this again saying recently he hopes the horse can “have an identical first half of the season to last term”, Adam Kirby will as usual be doing the steering and the five-year-old has a big chance to repeat at 5-1with Paddy Power.
At 2.55 it’s the Group Two Jockey Club Stakes over the 1m4f. Seventh Heaven is the only filly in the line-up and she did little wrong last year winning the G.1 Irish Oaks and G.1 Yorkshire Oaks; was making up the numbers behind stablemate Minding in the Epsom Oaks and was perhaps unlucky in running in the G.1 Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes before finishing fourth in the G.1 Filly And Mare Turf at Santa Anita. Second in the G.1 Dubai Sheema Classic at the carnival in March she clearly has returned to the track in good heart and should be able to win this with bigger targets having been set for her by Aidan O’Brien later in the summer. I have the 6-5. Across The Stars has the potential to be a typical Sir Michael Stoute improver at four and is feared with the trainer bidding for a record-equalling ninth success in the race.
At 4.45 we have the Listed Havana Gold Newmarket Stakes over 1m2f and Mark Johnston has Permian making a quick return having finished second in the Investec Derby Trial at Epsom 10 days ago. Ryan Moore was booked nice and early for the ride - one ride and one win 100% strike rate in last twelve months – which can be seen as a tip in itself as can the fact stablemate Frankuus was also entered for this but it’s the Teofilo – Tessa Reef colt is the one that lines-up. Take note and grab 7-4. One to be feared is Khalidi who steps up in class off the back of his Listed win in the Feilden Stakes over 1m1f here last month.
I will be up and at ‘em searching for the best prices Sunday morning – hope the café is open for a fry-up– and the two I will adding to Rhododendron in the big one Sunday, if the run, follow.
The Group Two Dahlia Stakes at 2.20 is for the older fillies over 1m1f. Muffri’ha has been going well over the winter out in Dubai and was second in the All-weather Fillies' And Mares' at Lingfield and has to be respected. That said Somehow for Aidan O’Brien was the one that jumped off the page at me earlier in the week. She won a Group Three at the Curragh last back end in some style and advertised her well being by winning a Listed heat at Gowran Park last weekend. If she comes over, and the going description has ‘soft’ in it, she should be backed. 5-2 was available in places in the run-up to the big meeting ante-post.
It’s the Listed Pretty Polly Stakes at 4.45 and I couldn’t help but notice Mark Johnston had than man Ryan Moore booked again at the earliest opportunity this time to ride Miss Infinity, as with Permian on Saturday (hopefully that won). She made a total hash of the race in the Listed European Free Handicap here last month and that race can be ignored. She was busy as a 2YO and racing at a higher level so should be able to account for these on all known form if she doesn’t mess about again; she is better judges on her third in the G.2 Rockfel Stakes. Astronomys Choice won her maiden and could be anything as they say but the form of the race is poor with eight she beat that day having run again since and only Mitten has won subsequently in a maiden at Lingfield.
Oh and don’t forget it’s the 143rd Kentucky Derby out in the USA at Churchill Downs, they are due off at 11.46 our time. Godolphin have Thunder Snow in the line-up whilst Englishman Graham Motion, who has established himself as one of the leading trainers in the States, has Irish War Cry lining-up and both colts have chances.
What a great weekend of racing.