Finding Value in The 2000 Guineas & 1000 Guineas at Newmarket

Finding Value in The 2000 Guineas & 1000 Guineas at Newmarket
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The infamous Guineas meeting at Newmarket Racecourse is finally here and racing expert Donn McClean has selected a variety of horses to take note of for this year's renewals.

2000 Guineas

Two pieces of news on the Qipco 2000 Guineas on Monday. First, Mutasaabeq is going to be supplemented and, second, William Buick has chosen to ride Master Of The Seas in front of One Ruler which was no easy decision considering Bet365 can't split the pair at 13/2.

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It can’t have been an easy decision for the Godolphin rider. One Ruler was impressive in winning the Group 3 Autumn Stakes over the Guineas course and distance on soft ground last October, before finishing second to Mac Swiney in the Group 1 Vertem Futurity Trophy at Doncaster, and he has been the subject of strong market support of late.

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But Master Of The Seas is the one with recent form on the board. Winner of the Superlative Stakes last season, and fourth to Thunder Moon in the National Stakes at The Curragh, the Dubawi colt finished second in a listed race in Dubai in February, before returning to Newmarket and running out an impressive winner of the Craven Stakes.

He was keen enough early on that day, and he had to navigate his way through traffic and deliver his challenge towards the centre of the track, but he dug deep and battled on well to get the better of his stable companion La Barrosa deep inside the final furlong, with the pair of them coming nicely clear of their rivals.

He is a player, but it is a deep race. St Mark’s Basilica, Wembley and Thunder Moon finished first, second and third respectively in last year’s Dewhurst, and all three are legitimate Guineas contenders.

The Joseph O’Brien-trained colt Thunder Moon, the National Stakes winner, should do better on the better ground that he will surely encounter on Saturday, while the Aidan O’Brien-trained Wembley had to come widest of all in the Dewhurst, and he did well to get to within three parts of a length of his stable companion, a half-brother to the 2019 Guineas winner Magna Grecia. It is not a given that the Dewhurst placings will be confirmed in the Guineas.

Mutasaabeq will be a fascinating addition to the Guineas field and is being well supported with Unibet who cut his odds from doubles figures into 8/1 this week.

Winner of a novice stakes on heavy ground last October on his only run at two, the Charlie Hills-trained colt was seriously impressive in winning a conditions race over seven furlongs at Newmarket on his debut this season.

Allowed stride along in front from flagfall that day by Jim Crowley, he picked up well at the two-furlong marker, and just came further and further clear from his rivals through the final furlong, winning by six lengths in the end in a good time.

A son of Invincible Spirit, out of Shadwell’s 2009 1000 Guineas winner Ghanaati, he could be a big player.

1000 Guineas

It is interesting to chart the path of Santa Barbara’s odds for the Qipco 1000 Guineas from last autumn. The best horse racing bookies quoted her at 33/1 and 25/1 after she won her maiden on her racecourse debut at The Curragh last September, but there was immediate downward pressure.

Her odds dropped through the winter, 16/1, 14/1, 12/1, 10/1 and, by the time the doors opened on the new turf flat season, you were doing well if you could get any double-figure price. By the end of March, she was no better than 11/4. Now she is a very short priced favourite at 6/4 with Paddy Power.

You can see the case. A daughter of Guineas and Epsom Derby winner Camelot, Aidan O’Brien’s filly is a half-sister to quadruple Group/Grade 1 winner Iridessa and to last year’s Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Order Of Australia, and she was impressive in winning her maiden.

She made good progress from midfield on the far side on the run to the two-furlong marker in that race, she moved easily through a nice gap that developed for her on the far side, and she cleared away from her rivals to win by two and a half lengths, leaving the impression that she could improve significantly on the bare form.

The race is working out well too. Runner-up Kailash won his maiden at Cork there last Friday, when he had third-placed Star Official behind him in second. Tenth-placed Hector De Maris, a stable companion of Santa Barbara’s, won a nursery at Naas at the back-end of last season, while seventh-placed Belmont Avenue was impressive in winning his maiden at Dundalk last Wednesday.

Given her absolute solidity in the market, it is reasonable to assume that Santa Barbara is impressing at home and, add that to her breeding, her trainer, her maiden win, she is a logical Guineas favourite.

It may be a more open contest than the betting suggests though. Alcohol Free was a game winner of the Cheveley Park Stakes last September, over six furlongs of the Guineas course, and she was game again in winning the Fred Darling Stakes at Newbury on her debut this term.

Andrew Balding’s filly had to make her ground on the far side that day, she hit the front on the run to the furlong marker, and she kept on well enough to just hold on from Statement by the bob of a head. A daughter of No Nay Never, she is out of a mare who won over six and a half and seven furlongs, and she has to prove her stamina for a mile.

There are no worries about Pretty Gorgeous’ stamina, who is currently a 9/2 shot with Boylesports. Joseph O’Brien’s filly was impressive in winning the Fillies’ Mile over the Guineas course and distance in October.

She was a consistent and progressive filly last season as a juvenile, winning the Debutante Stakes as well as the Fillies’ Mile, and finishing second to Shale in the Silver Flash Stakes and in the Moyglare Stud Stakes. Her best form last season was on easy ground, but she is a high-class filly and she could run a big race.

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Sacred could also run a big race. William Haggas’ filly was campaigned exclusively over five and six furlongs last season. Second in the Lowther Stakes and second in the Flying Childers Stakes, she probably put up a career-best performance on her debut this season when, stepped up to seven furlongs, she won the Nell Gwyn Stakes at Newmarket.

She travelled really well through her race that day in rear and towards the far side. Ryan Moore had to wait for a few strides for a gap to develop, but, when it did, she showed an impressive turn of foot to hit the front at the furlong marker, and she kept on well enough to get home by three parts of a length from Saffron Beach. She didn’t clear away from her rivals, but it appeared that she eased off herself, happy that she had done enough.

A step up to a mile will be a step into the unknown, but her dam won over an extended 12 furlongs in France, and she is a half-sister to Lady Eli, who was prolific over nine and 10 furlongs in America. There is every chance that she will stay and, if she does, she could run a big race.