Classic action is upon this weekend.
In America the run for the roses takes center stage with the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs while in England the 2000 Guineas is the focus. Both contests are of enormous importance for the breeding shed ultimately. Here we’ll look at the Guineas.
At Newmarket the standout is Dawn Approach, the son of New Approach who was just touched off by Henrythenavigator in 2008 Guineas. Jim Bolger’s colt comes here as an unbeaten six-time winning juvenile. Out of the blocks on the first day of the season he was kept on the go to Royal Ascot where he bagged the Coventry Stakes (G2). Jim then gave him a break bringing him back in the autumn for Ireland’s and England’s premier juvenile events The National (G1) and Dewhurst Stakes (G1). The criticism you hear of the colt is that he didn’t beat that much through his juvenile campaign and his racing style, lazy, will catch him out as a three year old. Neither criticism stand up. At Ascot he beat Olympic Glory unbeaten since including the Prix Jean-Luc Langardere , France’s premier juvenile race. In the National he beat the outsider Designs On Rome and stable companion Leitir Mor. Designs On Rome had previously come second to Sugar Boy who last week won the Sandown Classic Trial. The form stands up.
It’s ten years since the last Craven winner Haafhd went on to success in the Guineas. Toronado the winner of this year is second favourite in the bookmakers lists. Richard Hannon’s colt like the Godolphin colt is also unbeaten with a record of four from four. He beat Dundonnell twice in the Champagne Stakes (G2) last year and in the Craven again this year where he was an impressive winner. Does his style of racing put him anywhere near Dawn Approach?
Garswood from the Richard Fahey team comes into the frame on the back of a European Free Handicap win also at Newmarket three weeks ago. Again he did it well and on the back of it has been the subject of a sustained gamble all week.
Ballydoyle play third fiddle here with three runners. Pilot bookings indicate that Cristoforo Colombo, a son of Henrythenavigator is their most forward. He’s a one time winner from five attempts, the win on the first visit to the racecourse. He come’s into the reckoning here on the back of a third placed effort in the Coventry where he was beaten a length by Dawn Approach. He was unlucky next time out when he clipped heels and fell in the Phoenix Stakes and in his next and final run in the Middle Park(G1) he failed to land a blow 2 1/4 L behind Reckless Abandon. George Vancouver another son of Henrythenavigator has some to find with Dawn Approach being 3 1/2 L down on him in the Dewhurst however he did follow up the run by winning The Breeders Cup Turf Juvenile (G1) at Santa Anita. Mars is the unknown quantity, well touted prior to his one and only racecourse appearance he did his job as he pleased. He could be anything but to overcome his lack of experience against this quality field is a big ask especially when you take the dip into account over the Rowley mile.
The Bolger second string is intriguing, Leitir Mor. The expectation is he’s there to provide the pace for the favourite. A job he’ll no doubt do. He does have some smart form in his own right and with twelve runs as a two year old he’s certainly the most experienced runner in the field. He was only beaten a head by Lines Of Battle on his second run and in his last run in the Dewhurst where he made the running for his stablemate he stayed on to be second beaten only 2 3/4 L. He’s also a G3 winner in the Round Tower last year where he had Cristoforo Columbo in behind. Jim also considered keeping him for Paris next week so he holds him in some esteem.
Last year in the Dewhurst we recommended the forecast and here although a step up to 8 f is a concern we however see it no different. If he sets a good and not silly pace he may well stay on with only one or two getting past him.
At the odds available he’s worth backing each way.
Recommendation : Dawn Approach 6/4 win
Leitir Mor 66/1 ew
Dawn Approach and Leitir Mor F/C (small stake)