Our racing expert Ben Linfoot previews QIPCO 2000 Guineas day at Newmarket and he has four bets on the card including one in the Classic itself.
Recommended Bets: Saturday May 4
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With no Too Darn Hot and no Calyx the QIPCO 2000 Guineas is missing a few potential stars this year but, as ever, Aidan O’Brien could well have the answer on that score.
His Ten Sovereigns heads the betting on the back of an unbeaten juvenile campaign that culminated in Middle Park glory at this track at the end of September.
That’s the best form in the race but the big question is whether he will stay and given that he’s shown so much speed in his races it’s far from guaranteed.
There has to be a good chance he’ll travel well before being found out in the closing stages and at 7/2 he’s passed over in favour of a guaranteed stayer at the trip.
Stablemate Magna Grecia could well be that horse as he won the Vertem Futurity Trophy over a mile at Doncaster in October and the form is working out well.
It’s hard to pick holes in him, but I do think ROYAL MARINE’S peak juvenile form is just as good and he’s more than double the price at 12/1 (General).
He impressed at Doncaster at two when winning a maiden over seven furlongs in a faster time than Sangarius (who was carrying 5lb less) managed in a Listed race on the same card and he kicked on from that in style when landing the Group One Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere on Arc day.
That form has been emphatically boosted by the runner-up, Broome, who won the Ballysax by eight lengths last month and his French win came over a mile so we know he’s a strong stayer.
The Raven’s Pass colt is forgiven his below-par run on the Meydan dirt in January and then he was too fresh and keen when finishing fourth in the Craven Stakes just over two weeks ago.
He pulled like mad for a long way in that race and was then short of room at a crucial stage when Skardu, Momkin and Set Piece got first run on him.
Still, he was only beaten just over two lengths and he handled the dip well enough, so all hope is not lost ahead of the big day especially now Saeed bin Suroor utilises a first-time hood.
Hopefully it will help him settle and his trainer has a great record with a first-time hood, winning 24 from 70 at over 34 per cent which gives great cause for optimism.
Drawn centrally with pace close by in the form of Kick On and Urban Icon, there should be no excuses when it comes to luck in-running this time and he’s worth backing to reverse the form with his Craven foes and land the first Classic of the season.
There’s a really good undercard on 2000 Guineas day and Mark Johnston could have a fine afternoon starting with AQUARIUM (14/1 General) in the Spring Lodge Stakes at 1.50.
Admittedly, there are some lurkers in this race with Al Muffrih and Power Of Darkness potentially well-handicapped, but the former is coming off a long break and the latter will have to settle better than he did last time if he’s to get home over this nine-furlong trip.
Aquarium isn’t chucked in off 101 by any means, but he has been rated higher in the past and he’s fit and well after racing in Dubai before four domestic runs already this campaign.
His last two efforts have been two of the best of his career, as he went down by a head to Nonios at Chelmsford on April 4 before finishing second to Mountain Angel in the City And Suburban Handicap at Epsom 10 days ago.
That race is already working out well with the fourth, Mythical Madness, winning at Chelmsford the other night and Aquarium was a bit unlucky after being hampered in his run.
There’s the possibility of a good pace in this with Al Muffrih, Max Zorin and Elector in the field and that will suit Aquarium, who stays further and is usually held up.
In the Roaring Lion Jockey Club Stakes, Aquarium’s stablemate MILDENBERGER looks too big at 12/1 (General) given the way this could pan out.
Defoe and Young Rascal set the standard here but both have questions to answer after subdued efforts in the John Porter while Coronet often finds at least one too good as a record of four from 14 suggests.
With no other obvious pace on show the Johnston-trained pair may well get the run of things out in front and Mildenberger could be dangerous off the front end on his first go at 1m4f.
He’s certainly bred for a step up in trip as his dam won over this distance and further and she was related to mile-and-a-half horses as well.
A winner on this track in last year’s Feilden Stakes, he wasn’t beaten far by Roaring Lion and Expert Eye over shorter trips as a juvenile and remains with plenty of potential after just eight career starts.
Charlie Johnston still retains plenty of faith in this horse as he told us in a recent stable tour and you can just put a line through his reappearance at Epsom, in the aforementioned City And Suburban, as he slipped as the stalls opened that day and was always on the back foot thereafter.
I love the jockey booking of William Buick for this horse, as his 15 per cent Rowley Mile strike-rate more than doubles to 31 per cent when drilling down to front-runners (horses with ‘led’ in the short comments) and he is likely to go forward here.
Johnston has won this race a couple of times in the last decade and Mildenberger looks underestimated in the betting as he bids to make it a hat-trick.
Finally, I’m going to have a small each-way bet on Tim Pinfield’s SIR THOMAS GRESHAM in the Zoustar Palace House Stakes at 33/1 (William Hill, BetVictor, Betfair Sportsbook, Paddy Power 1/5 1,2,3).
Sergei Prokofiev could just be too good judging by his Cornwallis win at this track but Mabs Cross looks vulnerable under a penalty and I don’t think there’s an awful lot between the rest.
Equilateral is disputing third favouritism at around 9/1 but Sir Thomas Gresham shouldn’t be almost four times his price judging by their runs in the Abernant Stakes over six furlongs.
There was only a nose between them that day and they were neck and neck a furlong from home after Sir Thomas Gresham had shown plenty of speed to get across from his wide draw and lead.
He might well have been favoured by leading on the rail but there’s no denying he showed the pace of a horse well worth trying at five furlongs for the first time.
Last November he won at this track and he’s hugely unexposed following just six career runs, only three of which have been on turf.
Plenty will depend on him getting into a good rhythm up front again, hence the stakes being halved, but if he’s not hassled early on and Martin Dwyer can get him rolling he could outrun his odds in a big way.
Ben Linfoot's Value Bet aim: The Value Bet is designed to generate long-term profit by searching for overpriced horses in the feature weekend races and at the big Festivals in the UK and Ireland. Running total: +336.69pts to advised stakes/prices (from inception of Value Bet column in January 2010 to current).
Posted at 1700 BST on 03/05/19.