Guineas Previews

The first Classic of the season, the 2000 Guineas, gets the flat season truly underway this weekend. The one-mile sprints at Newmarket always attract huge crowds but whether they will be cheering home well-backed favourites or big-priced outsiders remains to be seen. Here are my thoughts on the two QIPCO Guineas races:

2000 Guineas

Win – Coroebus (4/1)

It is no secret that Native Trail is the one to beat in the 2000 Guineas. And although trainer Charlie Appleby believes he has two “live chances” at the top of the market, he will certainly know that the odds-on favourite is incredibly likely to have his head in front at the finish.

However, and I could live to regret saying it, I wasn’t entirely taken by Native Trail’s performance at Newmarket a few weeks ago. Of course, it was impressive, but does it justify him being so short against a strong field given that he can hit a flat spot as well? I’d say not.

Instead, I prefer Appleby’s other runner, Coroebus. The colt hasn’t had the benefit of a pipe opener this season, but he is a good price given his claims. His run in the Autumn Stakes last season was a great victory, cruising up on the outside and putting the race to bed in a matter of strides.

James Doyle takes the ride on Saturday, with William Buick opting to stay with Native Trail. But hopefully the 33-year-old will be regretting that decision. Coroebus possesses a strong turn of foot and the way he is able to travel into the race with little effort should give him a fighting chance in this race, especially if he has improved over the winter. It’s unlikely that Coroebus will stay any further than a mile so the chances of him hitting the line strongly are slim, but if he can travel into a slender lead before being asked to quicken by Doyle then he may be tricky to peg back.

Each-way – Checkandchallenge (25/1)

It will take a good horse to stop Godolphin from having the 1-2 in the 2000 Guineas with the aforementioned colts. However, at the prices, Checkandchallenge has to be considered as an each-way chance.

It was hard not to be impressed by how easily he won the Burradon Stakes (Listed) on his second-career start at Newcastle earlier tihs month. William Knight’s colt barely broke a sweat when pulling away from the field under Dan Tudhope, who keeps the ride.

His debut run at Wolverhampton in November showed that Checkandchallenge has a fierce turn of foot when asked for more. Whilst his run at Newcastle showed that he can travel through a race well, and if he can put it all together at Newmarket then he should certainly outrun his odds. The Guineas will be his first race on grass so whether he takes to the surface remains to be seen.

1000 Guineas

Win – Malavath (7/1)

With Inspiral and Homeless Songs both recently ruled out, the 1000 Guineas has been blown wide open. Aiden O’Brien has a strong hand with Tenebrism and Tuesday, but I’m far keener on the French horses crossing the border for the race.

I’ve been tossing and turning over whether to side with Zellie or Malavath, and I’ve finally settled on the latter. Francis-Henri Graffard’s filly showed that she had improved for the winter break when landing the Imprudence Stakes in Deauville earlier this month, beating Zellie – who notably wasn’t given the strongest of rides. Malavath powered away from her rivals that day having been eased into contention and hit the line well having already put the race to bed half-a-furlong from home.

Malavath, to be ridden by Christophe Soumillon, showed a nice turn of foot that day over seven furlongs and her second-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup previously shows that the step up in trip will see her to best effect.

This race is a very difficult one to call and it is very easy to pick holes in any of the market principles, but at 7/1, Malavath could prove a nice price on Sunday.

Each-way – Juncture (16/1)

The Ger Lyons-trained Juncture seems too big of a price in the market given that she laughed at her opposition in the Patton Stakes at Dundalk in March and was a closing second over seven furlongs at Leopardstown last summer behind Agartha – who should have run here.

Using Agartha as a yardstick, who Homeless Songs beat by a length in the Trial Stakes, it would rate Juncture as having an above-average chance of running into the placings on Sunday. She relished the step up in trip at Dundalk and the way she quickened signified that she is an improving type. At 16/1, with Colin Keane probably taking the ride, she is worth taking a chance on – especially considering she has been nudged in from 25/1 over the past few days.

Additionally, Prosperous Voyage is too big of a price at 25/1. Two second-place finishes behind Inspiral is rock-solid form and it would be no surprise to see her run a big race at Newmarket.