Hill looks the value
Andy Charles bring us horse-by-horse guide to Saturday's QIPCO 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.
Andy Charles brings us his horse-by-horse guide to Saturday's QIPCO 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.
Trainer: Aidan O'Brien. Jockey: Joseph O'Brien
Impressive winner of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Trial at Leopardstown in September and bred to be a superstar, but you just get the feeling based on his running last season that might happen over a few furlongs further in the Derby (he is the clear ante-post favourite) and St Leger. Rating: 5/10
Trainer: Mikel Delzangles. Jockey: Christophe Lemaire
Bred to excel on synthetic surfaces and impressed on his debut on polytrack at Chantilly last autumn. But that win came over 10 furlongs and his debut turf run when fourth in the Prix Djebel didn't mark him out as a likely contender despite seeing some support this week. Rating: 2/10
Trainer: Freddie Head. Jockey: Olivier Peslier
Winner of that Prix Djebel last month, but the race was very messy with the front four covered by only half-a-length. Form looks below that required to win a Guineas (Makfi did win both races in 2010) but his trainer is confident of a big run on the quicker ground he apparently wants. Lively outsider. Rating: 6/10
Trainer: William Haggas. Jockey: Paul Hanagan
Won the all-weather Three-Year-Old Championship on Good Friday at Lingfield but that could well prove to be his big day in the sun. Debut second to Toormore reads well but not a certain stayer and might end up being a sprinter. Rating: 3/10
Trainer: John Gosden. Jockey: James Doyle
Breathtaking winner of the Greenham on his three-year-old debut to become a strong favourite for the race, but that came on rain-softened good ground and anything faster than that at Newmarket would have to be a concern.
Trip should be more suitable than some of his main rivals but the potential for quick going is enough to put me off at such cramped odds. Rating: 7/10
Trainer: Roger Varian. Jockey: Andrea Atzeni
Unbeaten colt who produced a high-class performance to win the Racing Post Trophy at the end of last season. Hasn't run since, with the Derby believed to be his main target, and has become something of a forgotten horse, but at the likely odds looks to be a decent value bet.
Quick ground is an unknown but looks a sure fire contender, and Varian's comment 'what I have seen of him on better ground excites me' is enough to tip things in his balance. Rating: 10/10
MASTER THE WORLD
Trainer: David Elsworth. Jockey: Liam Keniry
Impossible to ignore an awful run to open the 2014 season, when beaten 30 lengths in a Newmarket listed race. Easy to pass over. Rating: 1/10
NIGHT OF THUNDER
Trainer: Richard Hannon. Jockey: Kieren Fallon
Well beaten second behind Kingman in the Greenham at Newbury on his seasonal debut and there seems no reason to think that form will turn around as Night Of Thunder also seems likely to be less suited by quick ground. Rating: 2/10
Trainer: Enrique Leon Penate. Jockey: Christophe Soumillon
A first Spanish runner in the 2000 Guineas, this colt comes over from the Canary Islands with a realistic chance of a place at least. Beaten narrowly in a Group 1 on Arc de Triomphe day last October, and an impressive winner of an egg-and-spoon race on his seasonal debut, but it's tough to know just how early-year La Zarzuela form will translate on the Rowley Mile! Rating: 7/10
Trainer: Charlie Appleby. Jockey: Mickael Barzalona
Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf winner last season to end a campaign full of promise. Held by War Command on Dewhurst running but such was his improvement on quick ground at Santa Anita there is a chance he could turn that form around here. Softening of the going, which has been watered, would be a big worry though. Rating: 8/10
Trainer: Richard Hannon. Jockey: Frankie Dettori
Won two juvenile races impressively last season and went on to claim the European Free Handicap on his 2014 debut, but that race is no longer one of the leading Guineas trials and he needs to show a lot of improvement. Stamina for further than seven furlongs is a question mark as well. Rating: 4/10
THE GREY GATSBY
Trainer: Kevin Ryan. Jockey: Jamie Spencer
Game and consistent northern raider, from the yard that provided last season's 150/1 runner-up Glory Awaits, but he is well held by Outstrip, Toormore and Kingston Hill and seems unlikely to produce a repeat of that shock. Rating: 1/10
Trainer: Richard Hannon. Jockey: Richard Hughes
Unbeaten colt will be looking to give leading syndicate providers Middleham Park Racing a dream Classic success. Toormore was crowned champion European juvenile colt after winning the National Stakes at The Curragh last summer and although his win in the Craven was little more than workmanlike, this likeable runner is sure to be bang there on Saturday. Rating: 9/10
Trainer: Aidan O'Brien. Jockey: Ryan Moore
Had seemed likely to run in the French Guineas but is re-routed to Newmarket to line up alongside Australia on ground that is bound to help his chances. Appears likely to be more suited to the trip than his stable-mate and looked awesome at Royal Ascot last summer on fast ground, but there is a niggling concern about his late confirmation as a runner. Rating: 6/10
Two huge hype horses meet in the first Classic of the season but could it be a pair of bubbles bursting in the same 100 seconds or so? Kingman and Australia are hugely exciting horses, and could well prove to be too good for their rivals, but ground and trip concerns are enough to make me look elsewhere.
Kingston Hill looked a horse to follow at the end of last season and is taken to win a first domestic classic for Roger Varian at surprisingly long odds, with Toormore and Outstrip chasing him home.