Saturday racing preview - 2000 Guineas at Newmarket and more
A blockbuster weekend of racing begins on Saturday with the first Classic of the season, the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket. Here we preview the betting for all of Saturday's big races including the Dahlia Stakes and Sagaro Stakes.
A race that arguably lacks the star power of recent years with no standout sprinters like a Mabs Cross or Sole Power. That being said, this is still a competitive renewal with the likes of Judicial and Major Jumbo returning for a crack at a prize that they’ve previously had to settle for place money in. Given the form of the Kevin Ryan yard, the latter would be of interest and vitally he’s shown his ability to run well fresh and is proven over course and distance. Far Above and Moss Gill look to be the main dangers.
The Godolphin owned Terebellum and Magic Lily head the market for this Group 2 prize. The former was primarily campaigned on soft ground in France last year so there has to be a question mark as to how well she’ll handle conditions on Saturday given the forecast quick ground.
Magic Lily enjoyed a productive winter in Meydan but is still to convince over this trip so preference is for Sir Michael Stoute’s Queen Power. The Newmarket handler has an excellent record in the race - six wins in the last 13 years - and has had his string in rude health since the season resumed. Queen Power ran a cracker in the Ribblesdale last year, although she does have a tendency to race keenly so hopefully she’s learned to settle somewhat over the break.
The first Classic of the season hangs on whether unbeaten superstar Pinatubo gets the extra furlong and has ‘trained on’. The market suggests it’s a yes to both, but Aidan O’Brien will surely be asking jockeys Tom Marquand and Adam Kirby to make as much use of Royal Donarch and New World Tapestry as possible to ensure a proper test. As such, it wouldn’t be out of the question for either to hang on for a place.
Arizona and Wichita will be there to pick up the pieces should Pinatubo falter but it would be foolish to write off Godolphin's other contender - Military March - already a winner over a mile and very impressive in the Autumn Stakes. Further dangers come in the form of Kameko, Kenzai Warrior and Mums Tipple in a fascinating renewal.
Moved from Ascot to Gosforth Park, this has the look of a slimmed down Northumberland Plate - it's certainly just as competitive. That being said the market looks to favour some of the more ‘fashionable’ yards from down South and there have to be reservations over the likes of Royal Line getting this trip first time up.
Mark Johnston won the race last year and runs three this year with slight preference for Nayef Road, who acquitted himself well in decent company last season and looks well suited to this test, albeit jockey bookings would suggest Mildenberger is the yard’s main hope.
One that seems to have been overlooked at bigger odds is Alright Sunshine for Keith Dalgleish. Yet to finish out of the money in 11 runs, he’s stepping up in class here but has an excellent record fresh, a top pilot in Danny Tudhope, and less questions to answer than some of the market principals.