RICHARD Fahey says he has never had a horse like GARSWOOD. That is some compliment when you consider some of the equine artillery the Malton maestro has unleashed down the years, including Group One winners Wootton Bassett and Mayson. The strapping son of Dutch Art has made rapid strides since his juvenile days and his performance in the 7f Free Handicap at Newmarket put him firmly in the Qipco 2,000 Guineas picture.
Some seem to be casting doubt on his stamina but Garswood gave no indication at Newmarket that he wouldn’t get a mile. In fact, the likely strong gallop and extra furlong should be ideal. In a race with real strength in depth, he offers excellent value at around the 12/1 mark and could give Tony Hamilton, who has kept the ride, his biggest success. I suspect his price may contract in the lead-up to the race.
Dawn Approach is a worthy favourite based on his two-year-old form but seems far too short a price in the betting. However, the way he raced as a two-year-old suggested there would be more to come and the vibes from Jim Bolger’s yard have been positive. Victory would be a welcome boost for Godolphin after the traumas of the Mahmood al-Zarooni scandal.
Toronado could not have been more impressive when disposing of Havana Gold and Dundonnell in the Craven Stakes. Richard Hannon may well have found the Derby horse that has always eluded him and the 2,000 Guineas could be the perfect stepping stone to Epsom. Still, 5/2 looks plenty short enough.
Aidan O’Brien knows what it takes to win the 2,000 Guineas and he is represented by Mars and Cristoforo Colombo. Mars is fascinating as he was a real talking horse as a two-year-old and looked very impressive winning his only race on the all-weather at Dundalk. It would be asking a lot for him to beat Dawn Approach, Toronado and Garswood, but he is a fascinating unknown quantity. Joseph O’Brien is riding Cristoforo Colombo, suggesting he is the stable’s first string, but how many times has a supposed O’Brien second string upset the applecart in the big races?
Of the others, Moohaajim looks like a non-stayer, while each-way backers might fancy a tipple on Van Der Neer. But if Sir Henry Cecil allows the promising maiden Kyllachy Rise to take his chance then he might just be worth a speculative each-way bet. He is thought to be a future group horse.