It’s a while since either of the 1000 or 2000 Guineas Trials at Leopardstown produced a winner of a Newmarket Guineas, the last in fact being Virgina Waters for Aidan O’Brien in 2005.
In the colts trial only four go to post with Aidan represented by Vault and Furner’s Green. John Oxx has Akeed Wafi and the unraced Tiger At Heart challenges from the Jim Bolger stable. It’s hard to see any of these colts being front ranked in terms of their own stables when viewing Newmarket and in that regard the winner may well tell more of the respective talents of their more prominent stable companions. In fact only Furner’s Green holds an entry for Newmarket and is gererally available at 66/1 while all bar the Bolger horse are entered for the Curragh equivalent.
Connections will therefore learn something of their pecking order at home while mindful the opposition will be thinking likewise.
The O’Brien team will expect that Furner’s Green will build on his second at Gorwan Park on his seasonal debut with Vault most likely acting as pacemaker. As a juvenile he showed he was thereabouts when fourth in the the Group 1 National. Akeed Wafi also showed he was decent winning his maiden at Gowran in September and takes slight preference here to give the confidence booster to the Oxx team regarding Born To Sea and Akeed Mofeed.
In the fillies trial Fire Lily brings the Moyglare and Boussac form here having run second in both. She did well to get within 1 3/4 L of Maybe at the Curragh and if she has trained on you would expect her to build on those performances. Up has the benefit of a Dundalk run and will come on for that to chase her home.
The other Group 3 on the card, The Ballysax, produced High Chaparral 10 years ago and the year before Galileo. Both went on to win the Derby at Epsom. It’s doubtful if the line up here will include the Derby winner and again connections will view with an eye on what they have at home. David Livingston’s defeat of Akeed Mofeed in the Beresford last year makes him down as a colt of some potential while Athens beaten 10 L in the same race will improve for the better ground. Light Heavy steps up in trip having beaten Furner’s Green at the Curragh over a mile. Call To Battle built on a maiden success with a listed win last backend and is also going the right way. He might just edge this on the basis of the good start the Oxx stable have made this year. Good runs by the Ballydoyle team won’t harm confidence in Camelot.
We mightn’t see a superstar this afternoon but we may well get some vital clues for the this years classic season.
In Paris Dabirsim returns in the Prix Fontainebleau. Unbeaten at two he was joint top rated juvenile and it will be interesting to see how he comes out of the winter break against Sofast whom he beat 3/4 L in the Prix Jean Luc Lagardere on Arc day. Further interest comes in the shape of Dragons Pulse who when trained in Ireland by Jessica Harrington was a place ahead of David Livingstone when second to Power in the National Stakes. His chances may be enhanced by a solid performance by the favourite in the Leopardstown race fifteen minutes earlier.
In the fillies race, The Prix De La Grotte, Zantenda turns out for Fredy Head. Her last run was in the Boussac when a place behind Fire Lily. This should give us a clue to the chances of the Wachman filly at Leopardstown a little over an hour later.