Top broadcaster Mike Cattermole previews this Saturday's Qipco 2000 Guineas at Newmarket and offers his 1-2-3-4-5 with Sky Bet going five places on each-way bets.
With no Too Darn Hot, Quorto and one or two other likely lads around, Ten Sovereigns is taken to step up and win the QIPCO 2,000 Guineas and give Aidan O’Brien an incredible tenth winner of the Newmarket Classic on Saturday.
That said, with 19 runners declared, the race looks wide open with a number of potential improvers to consider.
Ten Sovereigns is certainly one of them. He did not see a racecourse until late last August but displayed real star potential at the Curragh as he sauntered home seven lengths clear from 24 maiden rivals.
He was out again just a week later for the Group Three Round Tower Stakes at the same course and again never came off the bridle.
His biggest test was in the Middle Park Stakes here at Newmarket but, although having to work a little harder, he never looked like being passed by Jash (unbeaten at the time) as the pair pulled clear. He appeared to have no issue with the famous Dip that day but now has to face an extra two furlongs.
Although there is a stack of speed in his pedigree, it is encouraging that he seems a very straightforward ride and one who settles without any fuss. His dam also won over a mile and a quarter and stayed 11 furlongs, so that has to be a positive.
Ryan Moore rides him in public for the first time and his usual partner Donnacha O’Brien gets back on Magna Grecia, the Group One Vertem Futurity Stakes winner over a mile at Doncaster last October.
Just as he showed when beaten narrowly by Persian King (who goes for the French Guineas) in the Autumn Stakes at Newmarket on his previous start, Magna Grecia finds plenty for pressure and keeps trying but may just lack the class for a Guineas winner.
Another Group One winner in the line-up is Royal Marine who took the Prix Jean Luc Lagardere at Longchamp on Arc day last October. The runner-up, Broom, has romped home on his only start this term and looks a potential star over middle distances.
The experiment to run Royal Marine on the dirt of Dubai did not work but he ran a reasonable trial when fourth in the Craven Stakes last month. He is now fitted with a hood.
However, the impression is that the Godolphin colt may need a bit further than a mile now, and he has ground to make up on Skardu, Momkin and Set Piece in the Craven.
Given that Skardu had had only one previous start before winning that, he is taken to come out on top of that quartet again.
William Haggas’s colt showed a good turn of foot to prevail there, after coming from off the pace, and can only take a step forward from that. How big a step remains to be seen but he has great potential and could prove a danger to all. James Doyle, his top class rider, is overdue to win a Classic.
Frankie Dettori, who could have retained the ride on Set Piece, renews his association with Advertise on whom he won the Group One Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh at two.
Although both Too Darn Hot and Calyx are absent for different reasons, at least their form is represented by Martyn Meade’s colt who chased them home in the Dewhurst and Coventry Stakes respectively.
He is clearly a very smart performer but he does have a speedy pedigree and I am not convinced that a mile is what he needs.
Madhmoon would be an enormously popular winner for the evergreen Kevin Prendergast, now 86, who last won the race in 1977 with Nebbiolo.
Madhmoon may not have appreciated the soft ground when beaten on his reappearance in the Leopardstown trial but had looked smart on a fast surface when beating Broom there last September. He is an intriguing contender and I wish him well.
Good to see the north well represented here with Dark Vision (Mark Johnston), Emaraaty Ana (Kevin Ryan) and Great Scot (Tom Dascombe).
Dark Vision managed to win the Vintage Stakes at Goodwood after a poor run through but was very disappointing in the Champagne at Doncaster. However, he will need to do better than his comeback third at Chelmsford.
Emaraaty Ana frustrated me last season as I felt he wanted stepping up in trip – he is by a French Derby winner out of a mare who won at a mile and a half and I expected to see him in something like the Chesham at Royal Ascot.
Connections persevered with him at sprint distances, though, and were rewarded when he made all in the Gimcrack (Shine So Bright in third) and was then fifth to Ten Sovereigns in the Middle Park.
I would not be at all surprised to see him improve at a mile and he is an interesting 66-1 shot with Sky Bet who are paying out on the first FIVE.
I like Great Scot, too. He battled well over an inadequate seven furlongs when beaten three quarters of a length by the absent Mohaather in the Greenham at Newbury. His juvenile form was smart and he was only just over a length behind Magna Grecia in the Futurity at Doncaster.
He was also beaten two short heads by the Charlie Appleby-trained Al Hilalee at Deauville in August and that one was a supplementary entry for this last week.
Mike's 2000 Guineas Verdict
1. TEN SOVEREIGNS
3 Magna Grecia
4. Emaraaty Ana
5. Great Scot