The Classics 2021 - Guineas, Derby, Oaks, St Leger

Classics 2021 ante-post portfolio

1,000 Guineas:  A’Shaari 33-1 N/R

2,000 Guineas: One Ruler 5-1 - sixth

1,000 Guineas: Alcohol Free 7-1 - fifth

Derby:

Oaks:

St Leger: 

10th May 2021: 

Bolshoi Ballet sauté'd to the head of the Cazoo Derby ante-post market following his victory in the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial Stakes at Leopardstown over the weekend. It was certainly visually impressive but it should be noted he was really only beating horses he has beaten before in the shape of Taipan, Lough Derg and Fernando Vichi plus Mac Swiney who clearly didn't stay so I am not sure I will be jumping on at 7-4; there are more Derby and Oaks clues to come in the next few days. 

Qipco 2000 Guineas Stakes 2021

I took a bit of the 5-1 ante-post about One Ruler a while back and at this time feel as confident as you can in what appears to be a pretty open affair though he has drifted a bit this week in the betting. Reports are he really impressed in a recent workout on the Rowley Mile and all being well I have judged this one right and William Buick has messed up. Following his Craven win Buick has sided with Master Of The Seas, with James Doyle set to partner the selection. Talking on the Godolphin website earlier this week Charlie Appleby said “Kieren Fallon, who has been riding him all winter, took him for a routine gallop at Moulton Paddocks on Saturday, and he was pleased. Kieren won the Guineas five times, so it’s great to have a rider with that experience on the team. We took One Ruler for a gallop at Chelmsford four weeks ago, and he also had a racecourse gallop at the Craven Meeting earlier this month. His prep has gone well, and this is the perfect starting point for his Classic season.” Naval Crown inflicted a shock defeat on Master Of The Seas in Dubai earlier in the year, but appears to be here on pacemaker duties if anything having been beaten in the Listed European Free Handicap last time.  

Aidan O’Brien had entries galore and a fair few hours work must have gone in to working out who goes where judging by an interview he gave on Monday which also suggested team Ballydoyle don’t appear to be too sure which is the best colt. As it turns out he will saddle three for this, Wembley, Battleground and Van Gogh and they all have to be shortlisted with his record in the race. One thing I noted from the interview at the start of the week was his comment “Wembley has form on both (good and soft ground) but would love fast ground” which he looks likely to get. St Mark's Basilica is perhaps the most notable absentee from Ballydoyle I would assume in search of softer ground so France might be an option for that colt now. Mutasaabeq has been supplemented having won both his starts to date, both at Newmarket over seven on the Rowley Mile. The fact connections have taken the chance suggests he should be taken seriously but this is a big step-up in class. Chindit, winner of the Greenham Stakes (tipped on here) is another for the shortlist but might come up just shy at the very top level.  

Qipco 1000 Guineas Stakes 2021  

Aidan O’Brien has proved in recent years he can train one to win this race first time out for the season with the likes of Love, Hermosa and Minding winning this on their first start as three-year-olds so the fact he sends Santa Barbara straight here is not as surprising as it may have been a few years back. The filly is though ridiculously short priced and as impressive as she was at the Curragh winning her only start the form of the rest of that field since is pretty average with a couple of handicap wins the best of it. Sacred won the Nell Gwyn but Ryan Moore in the saddle seemed pretty confident seven furlongs was her trip but connections are taking a chance anyway. The same could be said for Alcohol Free, the winner of the Dubai Duty Free, though I feel she might come on for that run and the eight furlongs might just be within her stamina capability. If you watch that race back she showed some guts to win, the front two clear of the rest, whilst still showing a little greenness at times. After that win Balding said “We expect her to improve a whole load as she's backward in her coat and hasn't done a huge amount of work at home. It's really encouraging that she's got it. She stayed the seven furlongs well there and it wasn't easy for her. She was down the wing but showed really good acceleration. She settled well and Oisin Murphy is in no doubt that she'd stay an extra furlong." If she wins it almost certainly won’t be by very far but she should have enough to get her head in front where it matters in what is a weakish looking Classic. I have a bit of the 7-1 about here and fully expect to be doing the Betting Shop lean and shouting ‘hold on’ in the closing stages!!

30th April 2021:

A bad start to the weekend for Joseph O'Brien. The trainer has Tweeted this morning: "Unfortunately due to an unsatisfactory scope Pretty Gorgeous will not be declared for the 1000 Guineas this weekend."

29th April 2021:

St Mark's Basilica was perhaps the most notable absentee from the final field for the Qipco 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket on Saturday after 15 colts were declared today for the first Classic of the season. My bet One Ruler runs and James Doyle will ride. 

I have plumped for Alcohol Free in the 1,000 Guineas at 7-1. I can't back the jolly at the price based solely on a rumour about a piece of work she has done and I think there is more to come yet from Alcohol Free and she should come on plenty for her win in the Dubai Duty Free. 

19th April 2021:

St Marks Basilica, Wembley, Thunder Moon and Master Of The Seas were all quite tightly matched as two-year-olds, see the Goffs Vincent O'Brien National Stakes last season. Master Of The Seas was masterful in the Craven Stakes on his three-year-old debut and gave the form of the National Stakes a big boost in the process. It is no surprise to see these four to the fore in the Classics betting. Jockey William Buick and Trainer Charlie Appleby were clearly both happy with their charge after the run at HQ last week. Jockey William Buick told ITV Racing: “I just wanted to give him some room so he could run home and go through the gears which he did. It threatened to be a very messy race but the two class horses came through. This will have done this horse the world of good. He was relaxed and did everything right. I think he’s a Guineas horse. Only the very good ones manage to quicken down the Dip and when they hit the rising ground they go again and that’s what this fella did. When he ran in Dubai he was a bit of a mess and I’m just glad to get him back on track." Charlie Appleby added post-race “I wasn’t worried when he got beat in Meydan because our eyes were on Europe. Our plan didn't actually work out as we wanted it today. I was hoping La Barrosa was going to break a bit better and get closer to the front to take everybody up the middle. William had to manoeuvre himself out of there and he said the horse is a great mover, very slick. I thought it was a good performance. Master Of The Seas was the class act of the race with his solid two-year-old form."

One Ruler is yet to race against any of the aforementioned colts that head the 2,000 Guineas market with him. As mentioned on the Dirty Dozen page, the colt being a member of that select group this season,  he was tipped on here a couple of times as a two-year-old and he mixed it with some of the best of the juveniles all season. If he is better than Master Of The Seas, and everything Godolphin have done so far suggests he is, he surely has to go close at in the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket on Saturday 1st May. He appears to be versatile ground wise having won his maiden over 7f on good, the G.3 Autumn Stakes at HQ over a mile on soft, and was second in the G.1 Vertem Futurity Trophy Stakes at Doncaster at the end of the season on heavy. He has also proved already the eight furlongs hold no fears. I have taken a drop of the 5-1 ante-post as I think this son of Dubawi, out of Group winner Fintry, will be the one ruling the roost at HQ in a couple of weeks.

9th February 2021:

There is snow on the ground and temperatures at Triple G Towers are forecast to dip to -6 so naturally my mind has wandered to spring, Newmarket, and the Guineas, the 1,000 Guineas to be precise. A'Shaari is in the Dirty Dozen this season, a chestnut filly trained by Charlie Appleby for Godolphin and tipped on here on her debut at when she won. She is by Dubawi out of Hibaayeb, a G.1 winning mare over eight and ten furlongs who was trained by Saeed bin Suroor from three onwards. She is a full-sister to the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf winner Wuheida, also trained by Appleby and a favourite of mine, and a winner in France for Godolphin Ophelia's Dream so the team know the family! Her win on debut was at HQ over seven furlongs and she won as she pleased with the form working out three of those behind that day in August subsequent winners. I think she is over-priced at 33-1 and have taken a bit ante-post in the hope she will come out and improve passed the likes of Pretty Gorgeous and Shale.