Guineas preview 2011

The anxiously awaited first classic of the English flat racing season is scheduled for 9:10 a.m. (Race 12 on the UBA card) over the straight Mile at Newmarket, the headquarters of British horse racing.

The overwhelming favourite is the Henry Cecil trained FRANKEL (#4) who not only has the best form on show (unbeaten in 5 career starts on a variety of surfaces; sure to get the trip; and as fit as hands can make him) but has been touted by the usually reticent Cecil as the best horse he has trained since Wollow (Cecil’s unbeaten winner of the 1976 Guineas).  That’s recommendation enough and, on that basis, this should be a walk in the park for the odds-on favourite, FRANKEL.

But our listeners can’t afford to back an odds-on horse in as valuable, exciting and competitive a race as the 2,000 Guineas so, for those who prefer a flutter to just watching history in the making, here are 2 possible entries to use either in opposition to Frankel or in exotics with the favourite.

#9 Pathfork – the leading Irish hopeful – also unbeaten (in 3 career starts all as a 2yo) including a battling win over Godolphin “talking horse” Casamento (re-opposes) over 7f at the Curragh (a very similar track to Newmarket) on unsuitably soft ground.  He is one of the few whose form lines approximate FRANKEL‘s and so he has a realistic chance of defeating the favourite.  The slight niggle is that he has not run since September 11, 2010.

At even longer odds, William Haggas’ FURY merits serious consideration.  He’s unbeaten in 2 races as a 2yo and was most impressive in winning the valuable 27 runner Tattersalls Millions 2yo Trophy over 7f at Newmarket on soft ground.  Two important factors to note about that race.  Firstly, he beat the same sort of big field he’ll meet today and so, unlike FRANKEL, who has run in small fields, we can be certain the hurly burly of these races won’t affect him.  Secondly, right after the race Keiren Fallon remarked that this was the horse he’s most looking forward to riding  in 2011.  Unfortunately, a whip ban has ruled Fallon out today but multiple classic winning jockey Johnny Murtagh is a more than suitable replacement. The style with which FURY quickened up and drew clear of 26 rivals bodes well for his classic chances and he’s a most attractive outsider in this race.

FRANKEL is the obvious pick but the value in the betting market lies with backing FURY each way and so the betting pick for the 2,000 Guineas is FURY.

2,000 Guineas bet = (#5)    FURY (each way)

In the 1,000 Guineas to be run on Sunday (9:15 am), I’ve been in love with Richard Hannon’s MEMORY since she repeatedly showed such an exciting turn of foot on fast ground at Newmarket last year and she has been my ante-post banker bet since November.  Nothing has happened since to change my mind,.  She heads straight to the classic without a prep (normal for fillies classic contenders these days) and is described by Hannon as his best chance ever to win this race.  That’s good enough for me.

1,000 Guineas Selection = # 13 MEMORY

Good Luck!


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