Guineas Festival Day 1

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It’s a real shame that Sole Power and Anthem Alexander miss this race, but it’s still a very competitive affair. STEPPER POINT was fourth in this last year, second in the Kings’ Stand and The Nunthorpe, which were all credible runs before won the Flying Five Stakes (Group 3) at The Curragh. He started this season by finishing ninth in the Al Quoz Sprint at Meydan. He has to carry a 3lbs penalty in this, but he has every chance, he should come on from the Meydan race.

Pearl Secret was behind Stepper Point in this race last year, he then finished behind him again in The Kings’ Stand and at Longchamps in l’Abbaye in October. he has a pull in the weights here but I wouldn’t be have him a shorter price than Stepper Point.

Watchable comes here with some decent handicap form and a solid second in a Group Three at this course last time out. He didn’t look like a drop back in trip is needed. He’s never ran over five furlongs before and on breeding seven furlongs to a mile would be his ideal trip. I’m not sure why he’s ahead of Stepper Point in the betting, let alone favourite for this.

Goldream brings strong handicap form to the table and now steps up into Group company. He’ll need to improve on what on what he’s actually shown so far, but he did beat subsequent l’Abbeye winner Move In Time last year, so the potential is there, but on his twenty-ninth career start I would want to be betting on him in the hope of improvement. I however prefer the fact that Stepper Point has already shown he’s capable at this level and beyond.

It’s amazing that Kingsgate Native and Tangerine Trees are still mixing it with the youngsters, but surely time has caught up with them in terms of winning a Group class race. Online Alexander finished fourth behind Justice Day in October in a Listed Race at Ascot and both of those could improve, however at this time I don’t wan tot be backing them.

Despite having a a 3lbs penalty, I would make Stepper Point favourite for this on the level of form he showed last season and that he’s already had a run this season to freshen him up.

EDIT* Pearl Secret is now a non-runner, which make sit easier for Stepper Point to win this race, in theory.

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Back Stepper Point at 5.00 – Bet Victor[/symple_box]

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This looks to be one of the most open Guineas for years. The market believes that the best form line comes from The Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere from Arc day, which was ‘won’ by Gleneagles before he was disqualified and places third. Territories finished ‘third’ that day but was officially placed second. There doesn’t look to be a lot between them. I actually won’t be surprised if Territories actually finished ahead of Gleneagles on merit in this race, he looks to have the better breeding profile for a mile and was also born later in the later, so in theory he has more improvement to come than Gleneagles. Strictly on a form basis though I would have Gleneagles ahead of him in the betting, he won a group three last year, before going on to win a group two and then ‘winning two’ group ones. I can’t back Gleneagles for this at the price though, we’ve seen other fancied horses for this race flop on their seasonal reappearance, I would have him nearer a 6.50 (11/2) shot for this, despite his powerful connections. With that price in mind Territories doesn’t really appeal to me either.

The O’Brien second string is Ol’ Man River, and at around 7.00 (6/1) he offers no value. I will be really surprised if this horse has the pace for a Group One mile. He’s out of Montjeu who is a sire of stayers, Camelot is his only offspring to win this race and we can now say that he was a stayer and the 2012 renewal of this race was an awful race ran on soft ground and in the slowest time since 1983. This horse should be a double figure price.

Next we have ESTIDHKAAR, I backed this horse to win The Greenham two weeks ago and he ran a good race in defeat. Either the timings were wrong that day, the course was shortened, the ground was massively different or it was an excellent time ran by some potentially excellent horses. The time of 1:20:80 was quicker than Frankel, Kingman and Paco Boy all ran. Estidhkaar tried to make all in that race and was only headed in the final half a furlong, however he stayed on well and it looks like a mile could be the perfect trip for him. He’s been drawn alongside Kool Kompany so he shouldn’t have to make the running which will be an advantage to him. If the time he ran is a true refection of his ability and natural expected improvement occurs then he will be very hard to beat.

We can make cases for many of these, it’s early in the season so we could have a massive improved in the field, with nineteen runners there will be trouble in running or there could be a massive draw bias. However the clock generally doesn’t lie and therefore Estidhkaar has to be the bet in this race.

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Back Estidhkaar at 9.00 – Betfair[/symple_box]


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