Tag Archives: QIPCO 2000 Guineas

Qipco 2000 Guineas Stakes (G1) & Kentucky Derby (G1)

US Navy Flag on Debut at Naas last year

It’s Wednesday before the first classic of the season on Saturday, the 2000 Guineas. It might be three days away but already the forgotten horse in this field is surely US Navy Flag.

On official ratings he’s 9 lbs clear of his stablemate and current 5/2 race favourite Gustav Klimt and 2 lbs clear of his other stable companion and 5/1 second favourite Saxon Warrior yet the market puts him in as a 20/1 shot.

Granted he was beaten 15L by Gustav Klimt on his seasonal debut in the Leopardstown Guineas Trial three weeks ago but that was on heavy ground and his form of last year would suggest he has a strong chance of bridging that gap on ground that could ride good come Saturday afternoon.

He’s obviously a hardy soul having raced eleven times last year improving throughout the season. He was on the go from early May when he made his debut at Naas through to November at Del Mar where he contested the Juvenile Dirt at the Breeders Cup. He didn’t handle the surface and was well beaten there hence the change in the Ballydoyle plans where Mendelssohn became the choice for the Kentucky Derby.

Go back one run and you’ll find he was a good winner of the Dewhurst over 7f where he got the better of Mendelssohn, now joint favourite for the Kentucky Derby and prior to that he’d shown a serious turn of foot to win the Middle Park over six furlongs, the first G1 he captured.

The question is, is he a sprinter or a miler?

His debut at Naas was over 5f which proved too sharp however up to the Middle Park his runs were all then at 6f.

He’s by War Front out of Misty For Me. She got a mile and then some so you’d say he’s likely to find this mile within his compass and when asked he’d no problem in stepping up to 7f in the Dewhurst.

He has something else going for him, besides being a double G1 winner. His stable companions, who lead the betting here, have not yet encountered Newmarket’s famous dip before. It can unbalance a horse who lacks experience. Gustav Klimt did win the Superlative Stakes at Newmarket but that was over the July course and Saxon Warrior will encounter the course for the first time.

US Navy Flag on the other hand bossed both the Middle Park and Dewhurst grabbing the ground and powering out of the dip on both occasions. With the ground drying out and that crucial course experience it’s likely the 20/1 won’t last, come post time he could be a lot shorter.

A few hours later Mendelssohn will take his chance in the Run For The Roses in Kentucky. His prep run in Dubai on dirt was nothing short of stunning winning by a going away 18L and Aidan O”Brien reports him in rude health now. If he reproduces what he did in Dubai and what what he did in chasing home US Navy Flag last year in the Dewhurst he’ll be very hard to stop.

Recommendations: US Navy Flag 20/1 e/w

                                         Mendelssohn 9/2 e/w

                                           US Navy Flag, Mendelssohn  e/w double




The Craven Stakes (G 3)

Haafhd was the last to go on to glory in the 2000 Guineas when proving a decisive winner of this in 2004. It’s glory days as a trial came in in the mid to late eighties and early nineties when winners included the likes of Shadeed, Dancing Brave, Doyoun, Tirol and Marju who all went to take the Guineas.

This years renewal has attracted a small field of four nevertheless it may prove very informative come Guineas day in May in three weeks time.

Richard Hannon who handled Tirol in 1990 reintroduces the unbeaten Tornado the ante post second favourite on most lists at around 6/1 for the Guineas. As a juvenile he was successful on the three occasions he went to the course. A maiden and Listed victory was followed by victory in the G2 Champagne Stakes over 7 f at Doncaster last year. He’ll go off a short price favourite for this on the back of that two year old campaign.

In the Guineas ante post market the other three are all generally 25 /1 shots.

Dundonnell for Roger Charlton reopposes Tornado having gone down a 1/2 L in the Champagne when he went off favourite. Previous to that he had won twice and looked to be a colt in the making. The Doncaster run was followed by a trip to Santa Anita for the Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf where again he went off favourite. He went down 2 1/4 L to George Vancouver having raced over keen early before settling and running on. It was his best race of the season.

Havana Gold also in the care of Richard Hannon is the most experienced runner in the field having run six times winning four including the G 3 Somerville Stakes at Newmarket. His last run was in the Tattersalls Millions Two Year Old Trophy, a restricted race where he was second to Ghurair who is a general 16/1 shot for the Guineas.

Tawhid represents Saeed bin Suroor and completes the line up. As a juvenile he progressed in three maiden runs finishing nowhere, second, winning and in his final appearance a G3 success in the Horris Hill Stakes. That’s an upward curve but how high it will go will now be tested.

That remark does apply to them all. This is afterall an early season trial and all connections will be looking to get something out of he race. It’s context as a Guineas trial will be whether the winner can provide any opposition to Dawn Approach in the ante post lists. A good winner will see him shorten and might see Jim Bolger’s colt lengthen as the market recalibrate’s to the possibility that the Guineas is not just a one horse race.

The one who could justify a change in the market is Dundonnell. Although only fourth at Santa Anita it was a G 1 contest. He’s also a colt who looked like he would improve with maturity and today he might just cause some ripples in the Guineas market.

Recommendation : Dundonnell 7/2 win

The Derby ( Group 1)

It could be the best Derby in years.

The case for Camelot is strong and convincing.

He was a very impressive winner of the Racing Post Trophy last year in the style of St Nicholas Abbey. He then added the 2000 Guineas when coming through the field to cosily win from French Fifteen. He is bred for middle distances so to win the Guineas as he did spells class, class of a very special kind.

The Derby sees its smallest field since 1907. The main protagonists we envisaged to see are at home. No Akeed Mofeed, no Parish Hall .

It’s left to Bonfire to test the quality of Camelot. Thankfully he is a colt who can put it up to Camelot. In Paris last autumn he was an unlucky loser in the Criterium International at Saint Cloud. He saw daylight too late but when he did get a run he quickened and the 1 3/4 L he went down to French Fifteen was fast diminishing. After missing Chester, because of the weather, he got back on the course in the Dante at York. Always a top drawer Derby trial he did it well in a battling performance winning 3/4 L from Ekithamm. Andrew Balding’s concern going to York was that if he had a hard race recovery time was tight going to the Derby. Truth is, it was a hard enough race and this will be a concern for the Balding team come post time.

Astrology showed himself to be no mug when winning the Dee Stakes by 11 L while Main Sequence can hardly be accused of doing anything wrong being unbeaten in four including the Lingfield Derby Trial. Thought Worthy couldn’t cope with the rerouted Imperial Monarch in the Sandown Classic Trial and Mickdaam, a Chester Vase winner would be a big surprise considering what he showed in four runs at Meyden.

The measure here is French Fifteen. Camelot beat him, Bonfire with a clear run could have beaten him.

We’ll have a battle with three horses in it, Camelot, Bonfire and Astrology. In the last two furlongs these three will fight it out, class will win, the class will come from Camelot, just.

QIPCO 1000 Guineas

Newmarket Pattern Racing

Newmarket Pattern Racing - QIPCO 2000 and 1000 Guineas

The fillies version is a much more open affair in comparison to the male equivalent.

Nineteen fillies stand their ground with only two among them having achieved at top level as two year olds.
The field is headed by the George Strawbridge owned and French trained Moonlight Cloud.
Her one defeat came at Lonchamp on Arc day when a good fourth to Wootton Bassett in the Grand Criterium over seven furlongs.
The fact that she took on the colts may have had more to do with her trainers desire to keep at the distance rather than tackling a mile.
Her reappearance at Maisons Laffite where she beat Helleborine by two lengths must have been very satisfactory to connections.
Michael Stoute is represented by Havant.
She is two from two after an easy maiden win and a comfortable victory in the Oh So Sharp Stakes at headquarters.
You can expect that she will have been primed for the task by her shrewd trainer.
If there are any reservations they are her pedigree rather than the ground as she’s by Halling who went on anything.
Memory is an interesting filly having succeeded in the Albany Stakes before stepping up in the Cherry Hinton Stakes.
She travelled to Ireland to take on the best of the Irish in the Moyglare only to disappoint.
Market support would suggest she has overcome her autumnal setbacks.
Hooray won the sponsors money back in the Cheveley Park on good to soft having previously had difficulties when encountering firm ground.
The three principle Irish fillies from the Moyglare all reoppose on Sunday.
Going into the Irish Group 1 Together was the most fancied of the home team.
She had previously started a short priced favourite for the Group 2 Debutante Stakes where she lost her chance by hanging badly on the yielding ground.
The race was won by Laughing Lashes who was chased home by Misty For Me.
In the Moyglare run on good to firm Misty For Me turned the tables on Laughing Lashes with Together closely back in fourth.
There is not a lot between the Irish fillies.
Misty For Me consistently improved with every run and finished the season by adding a second Group 1 when accounting for Helleborine in the Prix Marcel Boussac.
The soft ground of Paris showed her versatility and Aidan O’Brien put her away for this reintroduction.
He pushed on with Together with three further run’s of which the neck second in the Meon Valley Fillies Mile was her best.
Jessica Harrington followed her instincts and like with Pathfork protected her filly for a three year old campaign.
There is form that ties the French, English and Irish challenge.
The Masons Laffite win in April by the French favourite gives Misty For Me a length to find through Helleborine.
Memory’s Moyglare run may just have been on merit putting the French and Irish fillies ahead.
Value then lies in the Irish fillies and in a race where most lack experience at top level it may be well worth siding with the one who could hold it Together when most under pressure.

Pattern Racing