The Classics 2019 - Guineas, Derby, Oaks, St Leger

Classics 2019 ante-post portfolio

1,000 Guineas: Skitter Skatter 10-1 - Fourteenth

2,000 Guineas: Royal Marine 7-1 & 9-1 - Thirteenth

Line Of Duty 16-1 e/w 

The Derby: Anthony Van Dyck 13-2  - First

Too Darn Hot 9-2 & 6-1 + Mount Everest 25-1 e/w

The Oaks:  Frankellina 33-1 e/w - Sixth

St Leger: Logician 6-4 - First

2nd September 2019:

I mentioned on the site last week that the Khalid Abdullah owned Logician looks to hold a strong position at the head of the St Leger market and following the latest forfeit stage you would have to say he looks even stronger now for the Saturday 14th September event. By Abdullahs greatest horse Frankel out of Scuffle, a fair filly also owned by Abdullah, on breeding the 1m6f looks impossible but the colt has looked better and better the further he has gone in his four race career. I have the 6-4

30th May 2019:

Anthony Van Dyck won what looked to be a fair Lingfield Derby Trial Stakes over 1m3½f, admittedly only Listed class. This hasn’t been the best trial for Derby pointers in recent years, 8 winners have gone on to Derby glory but the last was High Rise in 1998. That said Best Solution won in 2017 and he has multiple G.1’s to his name now and Kew Gardens was second last year before going on to register three wins including of course the St Leger. They went what appeared to be a fair lick from the off and Ryan Moore didn’t have to give him the full treatment for the son of Galileo and to go 2¼ lengths clear at the line. Moore and part–owner Paul Smith were both saying afterwards how he would come on for the run and he certainly looked at home over the trip. That, of course, was his first try over further than a mile so he should come on again and he is bred with that wonderful mixture of stamina and speed. At 13-2 he looks a fair price to me, the colt is battle-hardened and has fewer questions to answer than some of his less exposed rivals. He was also left in the French Derby but comes here rather than cross the Channel. Loyal Ballydoyle servant Seamie Heffernan rides.

28th May 2019:

It is all systems go for my Oaks ante-post punt Frankellina after she reportedly pleased in a key piece of work in Newmarket. Trainer William Haggas described the daughter of Frankel as "long on potential" after confirming she will run alongside her shorter-priced stablemate Maqsad. I of course have 33-1 each-way with Coral and she is now between 14 and 16's. Personally I thought her joint-second in the G.3 1m2½f Musidora Stakes at York was a fair run for a filly having just her second start and her seasonal reappearance; she was beaten a neck by Nausha. I have always said she is a big strong looking filly and I am sure the 1m4f will be riht up her street.

Haggas said about her "Frankellina seems to have come forward from York and there's only one Oaks so we're giving it a go. There's only one certainty in life and that is if you've got a runner you've got a chance. If you're not in, you can't win." He continued "We know she's short on experience and it's early in her career but she's long on potential. She's a different sort to our other runner Maqsad who has more speed, but Frankellina will stay very well whereas some might not. It's nice to have two in the race but whether there is a winner among them is another matter."

16th May 2019:

Too Darn Hot was beaten into second in the Dante. The colt was given a lot to do with Telecaster and Turgenev setting a decent looking pace well clear for most of the race. He picked up and looked like he could get there but ultimately just failed to get Telecaster back, the pair 4 lengths clear of the rest at the line. As a ‘trial’ and on seasonal reappearance I think it was a pretty good effort but the question now has to be asked does he get the trip? The colt is out to around 8’s for Epsom. Straight after the race Dettori's reaction 'back to a mile'. 

15th May 2019:

It was a tight finish in the in the G.3 Musidora Stakes at York with Nausha just edging out Frankellina and Entitle who dead heated for 2nd. My Oaks ante-post each-way punt Frankellina made up a lot of ground after breaking slowly and giving lengths away to the field. I am not sure how good the raec was but having watched it back a few times I don’t think James Doyle was that hard on Frankellina late on and fingers-crossed there is more to come on 31st May. She is in to anywhere between 10’s and 16’s for the Oaks now.

10th May 2019:

Too Darn Hot, my derby ante-post punt at 9-2 and 6-1, reportedly came through a workout at HQ Newmarket on this Friday morning and it is full steam ahead for his delayed seasonal reappearance at York next week. The colt of course suffered the setback that ruled him out of early season targets the Greenham Stakes and 2,000 Guineas.

I did not see it but by all accounts Frankie Dettori was in the saddle and he went clear of his lead horse Whitlock over seven furlongs on the Limekilns trial ground. Trainer John Gosden told reporters: "Too Darn Hot worked nicely under Frankie on what was perfect ground. Obviously we're trying to get him back to the sort of shape he was in a month ago. We've gone from getting him ready for the 2,000 Guineas to getting him ready for something else. We're pointing him towards the Dante at York where hopefully the ground won't be too soft."

He is back in to generally 4-1 alongside Sir Dragonet at the head of the market. All being well it will be plain sailing from here on in and Derby glory awaits!

9th May 2019:
I got the Guineas wrong, very wrong, so moving on. I like the chances of the Anthony Oppenheimer owned Frankellina in the Lingfield Oaks Trial Saturday 11th May and have decided to back her ante-post for the Oaks at 33-1 each-way as when she hopefully wins the Trial I think she will shrink in price. Owner/breeder and Diamond dealer Oppenheimer knows what he is doing and this daughter of Frankel is out of his Listed 1m4f winner Our Obsession. She won her sole start at two over a mile despite some greenness and this big strong looking filly looks the type that will come on bundles for a winter on here back and the trip should prove ideal.  

6th May 2019 
Speaking at the Curragh on Bank Holiday Monday whilst giving an update on his stable stars Aidan O'Brien said Mount Everest had a little setback last week which means he’s going to have a month off. That means he will be out of the Derby picture, so we will have him back at the back-end of the season. "

26th April 2019: 

Calyx will not run in the 2,000 Guineas.  Khalid Abdullah's racing manager Teddy Grimthorpe issued a statement today: "Calyx worked on the Rowley Mile course this morning under Frankie Dettori. Both John Gosden and Frankie felt that to go straight to the 2,000 Guineas after such a long layoff would be asking too much at this stage. Therefore he will not run at Newmarket on Saturday week."

24th April 2019: 
Charlie Appleby revealed today he is unlikely to have a runner in the Qipco 2,000 Guineas. One of his entries, and my ante-post punt, Line Of Duty is now likely to step up in trip instead. He said: "We have Line Of Duty entered at Newmarket but he's more likely to go for the Group 2 Dante Stakes at York next month."

Too Darn Hot has drifted a tadge in the Derby betting after the new he will miss the Guineas. I am sure he will be fighting fit by June and the drift has tempted me in again, I have taken 6-1 with Betfair this afternoon. Get well soon. 

18th April 2019: 

So what have we learnt from the Classic trials over the last few days. Firstly I think we can pretty much ignore the Newbury races with the greatest of respect to the winners; I will be shocked if we saw a Guineas winner over in Berkshire.

As for the Craven meeting at HQ, you had to like the way Qabala got the job done in the Nell Gwyn, and not just because I was on at 12-1! In a wide-open looking year she put herself firmly in the picture.

As for the Craven, and again not just because the colt is a horse I have followed, I think Royal Marine might be the one to take out of the race. He was hemmed in good and proper having been taken to the rail early-on, got shuffled back to last even though arguably going best of all two-and-a-half out, and then had to come five wide, putting in his best work too late when finally able to get going; it wasn’t Christophe Soumillon at his best. Saeed Bin Suroor said of the Group 1 winner, who sported a hood in the paddock: "He was keen in the race and he got stuck in behind. I thought he might find a gap but nothing happened. Next time we'll keep a hood on and he'll be a better horse in the Guineas."

9th April 2019: 

Somewhat unusually for me there was no long-term ante-post on any of the Classics this season. I had been mulling over a few potential bets during the long dark winter evenings but hadn’t taken the plunge. It is early April as I write and as the big yards of the Turf game awaken from their winter slumber and begin working in earnest with their three-year-old charges for the new campaign I have waded into the Classics market and placed four bets.

The fillies markets are wide-open with it 10-1 the field for the 1,000 Guineas and 16-1 The Oaks! Skitter Skatter is on my dirty Dozen list and in such an open year at 10-1 she is my tentative pick for the 1,000 Guineas. This filly steadily improved throughout her 2yo campaign winning a Group Three and a Group Two with he season culminating in victory in the Group One 7f Moyglare Stud Stakes. I am not convinced she will get the 1m4f of the Oaks but a mile and a mile-and-quarter should prove her ideal. John Oxx will have been laying plans over in County Kildare for this one.

I have not had a punt in the Oaks as yet and will watch the trials before making a decision.

As for the 2,000 Guineas Dirty Dozen member Too Darn Hot is red hot jolly and can’t be backed at the price for me. The star of Aidan O’Brien’s juvenile crop last season was Ten Sovereigns winning each of his three starts, notching up the hat-trick with a narrow victory in the Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket. It would appear he will return to the Rowley Mile for the 2000 Guineas without a prep race. Line Of Duty is a member of my Dirty Dozen and last years Group One Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf winner is available at 16-1 at the time of writing for the 2,000 Guineas and I have that each-way.

The Derby is the big one and very unusually for me I have had two bets in the race. Too Darn Hot should get the trip. His sire Dubawi didn’t quite get the home when 3rd in the Derby of 2005 and his record is strongest over a mile and 1m2f as a sire but he has had winners over 1m4f. His dam Dar Re Mi had no such problem winning the G.1 Yorkshire Oaks and G.1 Sheema Classic as well as putting in a number of good efforts in defeat in major middle distance races across the globe. If he can cruise at the speed he has shown too date over shorter distances over the longer trip when the turbo kicks in he could possibly be even better over the 1m4f than the eight furlongs of the Guineas. 9-2 is short enough but if he comes out and wins the Greenham Stakes at Newbury hard held the colt will be odds-on for the 2,000 Guineas and about 7-4 for Epsom before Frankie can do his flying dismount bit! I am on.

Aidan O’Brien opened the gates of Ballydoyle to the press on Monday 8th April and discussed some of his charges and their targets for the coming months. I noted with interest how happy he appears to be with Mount Everest especially when he said of the colt that he is ‘a beautiful-moving horse who has done extremely well physically’. Generally 25’s, at the time of writing it might look very big come 1st June as I think 1m4f could be his trip and if he has done that well over the winter he could prove to be a big player at Epsom and I have had an each-way punt on him as well. By Galileo out of Six Perfections he is a full brother to G.2 winner Yucatan who got the trip and 1m2f G.3 winner Faufiler so he should stay. He was only beaten a neck by stable mate Japan in the G.2 Beresford Stakes over a mile last back end and that one is 10-1 second favourite in April.

I am keeping the powder dry in regards to the St Leger at this time, Broome is the jolly and though by Derby & Irish Derby winner Australia he is out of a the sprinter Sweepstake and it is hard to imagine him getting 1m6f on breeding and none of her progeny thus far have proven top-class.