New to Tote? Get a £/€10 Welcome Offer
Join Tote >

The 2000 Guineas is the first Flat Classic of the season and the opening World Pool day on British soil.

Andrew gives us a comprehensive run through of what has caught his eye in the feature race as well as his other big fancies on Saturday's fascinating card!

1.15 – Read Ryan Moore On Betting.Betfair British EBF Kilvington Stakes - 6f

FLOTUS

My original pick when I looked at this race at the four-day declaration stage, heads the early market at a shade of odds-on. She made the running when second in the Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes over this course and distance on her final start last year, finding only Aidan O’Brien’s Tenebrism, ante-post favourite for Sunday’s 1000 Guineas, too good. She was well drawn that day – the three highest-drawn runners filled three of the first four places – but a repeat of that effort could see her hard to catch. She scored first time out as a juvenile and improved considerably for the switch to forcing tactics in the second half of the season.

UMM KULTHUM 

Has yet to run a bad race in sprints (5f-6f), recording form figures of 13133 (2-5) and was drawn away from where the main action developed when a one-length third to Rohaan in the Group 2 Sandy Lane Stakes at Haydock last May. Lack of a run for 343 days and the prospect of fast ground are the obvious concerns.

GALE FORCE MAYA 

Has a fantastic record in sprints on tracks with stiff uphill finishes like Newmarket, recording form figures of 1813111222331121 (8-16). She scored narrowly over course and distance in a competitive handicap on her return to action and should be thereabouts if avoiding a pace war with Flotus. However, she has to concede 11lb to her year younger rival but would be receiving 12lb were this a handicap.

TENAYA CANYON 

Tends to meet trouble when racing in big fields, as she did when eighth of 15 in a Bath Listed race on her reappearance. The small field and wide-open spaces of Newmarket will suit better. Since running green when beating only a couple home at Kempton on her juvenile debut, her record in fields of ten or fewer runners reads 3125121 (3-7), improving to 1121 (3-4) on straight tracks. She meets most of her rivals on unfavourable terms but is likely to be finishing to good effect and could out-run her likely big odds.

Conclusion

Flotus is the obvious one and a must for Placepot inclusion. There’s just a chance that she could get softened up by fellow pacesetter Gale Force Maya and, with Umm Kulthum, back from a break on unsuitably quick going, the tote value could lie with the TENAYA CANYON. I’ll be backing her and will also including her in the tote exacta to finish second to Flotus.

1.50 – My Odds Boost On Betfair Handicap - 6f

The first race is unlikely to offer much in the way of draw clues, as there are only seven runners. However, we now have 21 runners for this hugely competitive heritage handicap and we should find out whether the Newmarket stands’ side ‘golden highway’ – a faster strip of ground favouring those drawn high – is in operation or not. Most of the pace horses are drawn low but I’m expecting Apollo One (stall 13) and Persuasion (stall 15) to provide the pace on the stands’ side, with perhaps one or both coming all the way across to the rail. I’ve had a good look at the field in draw order…

SUMMERGHAND (Stall 1)

Came to hand early last season and his combined record at the two Newmarket tracks reads 12222101 (3-8), with the ‘duck egg’ coming in Group 1 company. He’ll get a good pace to aim at on the far side and if his low draw is no disadvantage, he could make the frame.

MR WAGYU (Stall 2)

He has a strong seasonal pattern to his form, winning 13 of his 26 starts in June/July for a profit of £54.35 to a £1 level stake at SP. He’s blanked in all 32 starts outside of this period and faces competition for the lead on the far side.

IF YOU DARE (Stall 3) 

Another low-drawn pacesetter and he finished last of four in this race 12 months ago. He reportedly became unbalanced in the dip that day and the return to this venue has to be a concern.

BLACKROD (Stall 4)

Tends to race prominently and did best of the centre group when third of 24 in Ayr Silver Cup on his final outing last term, taking his form figures on good or faster going to 2113 (2-4). He makes the shortlist.

CHAIRMANOFTHEBOARD (Stall 5) & ASJAD (Stall 6) 

Both seem happiest on softer going. The last-named headed the early market at 7-1 but both his runs on good or faster ground have resulted in defeat when favourite – finishing second of three when 4-6 at Ffos Las and 11th of 12 when 3-1 at Doncaster.

TACTICAL (Stalk 7) 

Has undergone wind surgery since disappointing at Goodwood last summer. He won over 7f here on his reappearance last season and has each-way claims.

RUN TO FREEDOM (Stall 8) 

Hasn’t had many opportunities in 6f handicaps, winning and finishing second by a short head from two goes (both on Kempton’s Polytrack). He failed to settle then met trouble when a respectable fourth in the Group 3 Abernant Stakes over trip and track on his comeback and will appreciate the likely strong pace.

RAATEA (Stall 9) 

Fared best of those ridden patiently when third of 12 here on his reappearance but doesn’t look entirely straightforward though and has won just one of last ten starts.

JUSTANOTHERBOTTLE (Stall 10) 

Struggles to stay 6f and I can’t see him lasting home on this stiff track.

ABOVE (Stall 11) 

Didn’t stay 7f here last time and his top six RPRs (Racing Post Ratings) have come over today’s trip of 6f. He has possibilities.

JUMBY (Stall 12) 

Improved for the step back up to 7f when scoring at this venue on his final outing last term and seemed to find 6f on the short side when third in the Abernant on his comeback. He ran over 1m back in September 2020, finishing third and beaten just one and a half lengths by winner Yibir (now rated 120) and half a length by runner-up Megallan (now rated 112) and I’d love to see him over that trip again. He should be finishing to good effect but usually attracts market interest and is unlikely to offer much in the way of value.

APOLLO ONE (Stall 13) 

Often makes the running and this will be his first turf outing since gelded. It’s possible that he’ll head towards the stands’ side from stall 13 and he could out-run his likely big price.

BERNARDO O’REILLY (Stall 14) 

Needs genuinely good or good to soft going and might find conditions on the quick side.

PERSUASION (Stall 15) 

Has left Charles Hills since the end of last season, changing hands for 75,000gns in the autumn. The stable of David & Nicola Barron has wasted no time in gelding him and they do well at the first time of asking with new acquisitions. Since 2010, they are six from 22 with newly-gelded stable switchers and backing them blind would have returned a profit of £14.85 to a £1 level stake at SP. Six of 16 beaten horses made the frame and his prominent running style and high draw could both prove to be useful assets.

BICKERSTAFFE (Stall 16) 

Seems best in smaller fields than this…

12 or more runners: 9706 (0-4)

11 or fewer runners: 161311 (4-6)

However, he’s two from two on his seasonal debuts and if they split into two or more distinct groups, he might be able to avoid traffic problems.

TARHIB (Stall 17) 

Makes her handicap debut after reportedly finding the ground too soft when eighth of 15 in Listed company at Doncaster last backend, though had shown form on such a surface before. She’s short enough in the betting for her first start on good or faster going.

FIRST FOLIO (Stall 18) 

Has a good record at York and seems to prefer flatter tracks than this one.

FINAL SONG (Stall 19) 

Has gone backwards since his narrow Group 1 defeat at Meydan last spring.

STRIKE RED (Stall 20) 

Was a huge eyecatcher over this trip and track on his comeback, going down by a length and a half in sixth after repeatedly being denied a clear run. That effort took his record on tracks with stiff uphill finishes to 413211126 (4-9) and it will be disappointing if he doesn’t run a big race here. Hopefully, there will be sufficient pace among the high-drawn runners.

OSO RAPIDO (Stall 21) 

Represents in-form Roger Fell but tends to peak in August/September after he’s had several runs. This will be his third start of the current campaign.

Conclusion

My rather long shortlist includes Summerghand, Blackrod, Run To Freedom, Tactical, Above, Strike Red and PERSUASION. The last-named could be the pace angle down the near side and gets a tentative vote. Exacta and trifecta players might want to consider perming some of those drawn very high, in the hope that there’s a strong draw bias.

2:25 – Betfair Daily Rewards Suffolk Handicap - 1m1f

The market leaders – DHAHABI and FAST MEDICINE were 100-30 joint-favourites at the time of writing - are difficult to assess here. The former has been off the track for 567 days and it’s hard to know whether the latter’s wide-margin Nottingham win was a fluke or not.

FOREST FALCON 

Fared best of those to chase the strong early pace when third at Chelmsford last time and the two who cut out the early running faded to finish last and second last. That run – his first on Polytrack - can be upgraded and he won his final two turf starts last season. He’ll be dangerous if allowed an easy lead.

MOVIN TIME 

Looks interesting under promising apprentice jockey Harry Davies. Trainer Roger Varian is five from 18 when using a 7lb claimer in handicaps over the past five years and backing them blind would have returned a profit of £20.25 to a £1 level stake at SP. Three of the last six qualifiers have won (16-1, 8-1 and 5-1). He’s been off the track for 287 days but defied a 184-day absence when scoring on his comeback last year and has been gelded over the winter. His prominent style will be an asset.

TURNTABLE 

Won over course and distance on his final outing last season, a win that took his turf record on straight tracks for his current yard to 11054313261 (4-11). At Newmarket only (Rowley Mile or the July course) those figures improve to 14121 (3-5), with the fourth place excusable as he didn’t take to wearing a first-time hood. Stall 10 of 10 could prove useful if they track across to the stands’ side rail.

Conclusion

This is very tricky but I’m inclined to take on the market leaders with MOVIN TIME, Turntable and Forest Falcon and those are the ones I’ll be playing in the Tote Exacta and Placepot.

3:00 – Betfair Palace House Stakes - 5f

Mayson (2012) and Mabs Cross (2018) both landed this race after a recent outing but eight of the last ten winners were returning from a break of at least 150 days. Those who last raced within that period are just two from 64 in the past ten years (the expected number of winners, based on their SPs, was 5.26).

TWILIGHT CALLS (Stall 12 of 12) 

Potentially well drawn and heads the market on the strength of his course and distance handicap win 16 days ago. However, he has never won back-to-back races and has twice finished behind my fancy WHENTHEDEALINSDONE (stall 11), who is a much bigger price. Roger Teal’s four-year-old is two from two at this trip since gelded and though only fifth of 16 in the Portland Handicap at Doncaster on his final outing last term, it was a cracking effort given that he made the running into a strong headwind and the 5f 143y trip stretched his stamina.

TIS MARVELLOUS (Stall 3) 

Has a great record on stiff tracks but has never won this early in the season.

CAME FROM THE DARK (Stall 7) 

Has recorded two wins and two narrow seconds since gelded. He was second by a neck in this race 12 months ago when his patient running style was at a major disadvantage. Lack of a run since July is a slight concern but he still looks a solid Placepot inclusion.

HURRICANE IVOR 

Has form figures on good to soft or quicker going for William Haggas of 12311 (3-5). The second place came by short head in field of 18 when poorly drawn at Ascot and third in field of 22 at York when best of the closers.

Conclusion

Twilight Calls could prove to be a vulnerable favourite and WHENTHEDEALINSDONE, 2-0 up in their previous meetings, can again emerge best. He ran a huge race against the bias in the Portland and a prominent ride up the rail from stall 11 could be just the ticket. Came From The Dark and Hurricane Ivor are also respected.

3.40 – Group 1 Qipco 2000 Guineas Stakes - 1m

NATIVE TRAIL

Charlie Appleby’s son of Oasis Dream was trading at around even-money for the first Classic of the season at the time of writing. He’s unbeaten in five starts and landed prohibitive odds in comfortable fashion in the Craven Stakes over this course and distance on his reappearance. He’s going to be very difficult to beat. Stall 15 of 15 could prove to be very useful too.

DUBAWI LEGEND

Hugo Palmer’s colt looks to be the pace angle on the near side and chased home Native Trail when 12-1 for the Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes over 7f here last autumn. He has two lengths to make up on the favourite but impressed on his reappearance last term and could have more to offer over this trip. If the high-draw bias is in play, then he looks the obvious one to perm in the exacta with the favourite.

LUXEMBOURG

Aidan O’Brien has been getting plenty of winners in Ireland this year but it’s a slight concern that his four runners in Britain have all finished unplaced (9-1, 9-2, 4-1 and 2-1). That’s obviously a very small sample size but I still wouldn’t be rushing to back this unbeaten Camelot colt at around 4-1, especially as he’d drawn on the opposite side of the track to the favourite.

THE WIZARD OF EYE

Trainer Stan Moore has sent out two winners and a narrow second from his last three runners and his Wizard Of Eye won’t be disgraced despite his three-figure odds. He was only three lengths behind Perfect Power in the Greenham a fortnight ago and could benefit from the step back up to 1m. Progeny of his sire Galileo Gold also seem to benefit from a very recent run (with 15 days), winning 12 of their 61 starts for a profit of £81.63. He’s drawn on the far side but I’ll still be throwing a couple of quid at him at a huge price.

Conclusion

Native Trail probably but DUBAWI LEGEND could be the value play if earlier races suggest high draws are favoured.

4.15 – Read Tony Calvin's Tips On Betting.Betfair Handicap - 1m4f

MATCHLESS

It’s rarely easy to win from the front on the round course at Doncaster but Matchless did that last time when taking a 1m2f handicap. Newmarket should suit, as should the step up in trip.

STATE OF BLISS

This has been a good race for the Charlie & Mark Johnston yard and STATE OF BLISS, a game winner at Ripon last time, remains open to improvement on his fourth start since gelded.

LOVE IS GOLDEN

This stablemate of State Of Bliss chased home Matchless at Doncaster on his comeback and bounced back from a tame Pontefract effort to run third at Epsom last time. The small field will suit but his wins have come on sharper tracks (at Ripon and twice at Chester) and he’s finished seventh of eight, 12th of 15 and eighth of nine in his three runs here.

Conclusion

STATE OF BLISS can give the Johnston yard their third straight win in this race and their fourth in the past ten years.

4.50 – Betfair Exchange Handicap - 1m

Only six runners go to post for this mile handicap but it’s still going to be tricky to find the winner. There should be a decent pace on, despite the small field, as Private Signal, Razzle Dazzle and Spirit Catcher all race on the front end.

PRIVATE SIGNAL

It’s fascinating to see the cheekpieces go on for the first time, as the son of Sea The Stars was ridden by William Buick last time out. Buick has a well-deserved reputation for giving valuable post-race feedback to trainers and when a horse he rode last time now wears first-time headgear, whether he is riding again or not, they prove profitable to back blind, winning 54 of their 301 starts since 2010 (18% strike-rate) for a profit of £85.58 to a £1 level stake at SP. Private Signal was apparently suffering from ringworm when a close-up second at Newbury on his reappearance and first start since gelded, though Buick deserts him in favour of King Of Time.

KING OF TIME

Trainer Charlie Appleby is operating at a 40% strike-rate in the past fortnight (eight winners from 20 runners) and this unbeaten Kingman gelding heads the market at around the 6-5 mark. Both his wins came on Lingfield’s Polytrack but the switch to turf is unlikely to pose a problem and he still looked green when justifying short odds on his latest start. His trainer won this race with 7-4 shots in both 2016 and 2018 and also saddled placed runners in 2015 (8-1) and last year (9-4f).

RAZZLE DAZZLE

Richard Hannon senior won this race in 2013 and Hannon junior followed suit in 2015. He also saddled the runner-up in 2017 and last year. Razzle Dazzle won impressively on the July course here last summer before finding Listed company too hot at Doncaster. The step up from 7f should suit.

SPIRIT CATCHER

Charlie & Mark Johnston’s colt made the running in both starts last term but was ridden with restraint when making a successful reappearance on easy ground at Musselburgh. He did well to score off a steady gallop that day and New Bay three-year-olds are profitable to back blind after a recent outing (within six weeks), landing 37 of their 150 starts (24.7% strike-rate, +£24.79).

Conclusion

It would be no surprise to see the unbeaten King Of Time complete his hat-trick but I’ll be siding with Godolphin second string PRIVATE SIGNAL over Spirit Catcher.

 5.25 – Betfair Weighed-In Podcast Handicap - 6f

The meeting closes with a competitive 6f handicap for three-year-olds. I’ve no strong opinions at this stage but hope to narrow the field nearer the time once we know if there’s a strong bias, favouring those drawn high.

FAVOURITE CHILD

Kark Burke’s filly had no chance under prominent tactics from a low draw at Bath last time, in a Listed race that massively favoured those who challenged late/wide from high draws. She finished third of 28 in a valuable sales race over course and distance last autumn, doing second best of those to race down the stands’ side and could benefit from the return to this venue.

RAINBOW COLOURS

Most shock winners at Newmarket are ridden from the front and plenty were trained by the Johnston yard. Rainbow Colours disappointed on Kempton’s Polytrack when last seen but won on turf at Ripon on her penultimate start and, if high draws are favoured, she has the perfect pitch in stall 13 of 13.

HARRY THREE

Clive Cox’s colt fared best of those ridden patiently and best of those drawn low when third over course and distance last time but stall 1 could prove troublesome.

MANACCAN

John Ryan’s colt ran well in the Group 3 Cornwallis Stakes over 5f here on his final juvenile outing, meeting trouble before staying on into fourth. That was his first run at the minimum trip and he’ll be suited by the step back up to 6f here. He won well on the July course last summer and his trainer had a 12 winner at Yarmouth last week. He has the best speed figure according to Proform’s ratings and won’t need to improve on this his handicap debut.

Conclusion

More work needed but MANACCAN looks fascinating now back up to 6f and he gets the early vote.


Read More