LAST year’s Qipco 2,000 Guineas will take some beating. Night Of Thunder, under an inspired Kieren Fallon, edged out both Kingman and Australia. The latter pair went on to conquer all before them. Then, further down the field, were subsequent St Leger winner Kingston Hill and dual Group One winner The Grey Gatsby. So this year’s race will have to go some to emulate 2014…
Saturday’s 2,000 Guineas betting market is pretty wide open. Some talking horses have fallen by the wayside in the trials, such as John Gosden’s Faydhan. And I’m disappointed that Zawraq will not be in the field. Dermot Weld’s imposing colt has not been supplemented and was the most notable absentee as 28 stood their ground for the race.
Aidan O’Brien will, inevitably, be strongly represented by the favourite Gleneagles and the unbeaten Ol Man River. The Ballydoyle vibes have not been as strong as they were about Australia in 2014 and I’m not sure Gleneagles offers much value in such an open contest. Highland Reel is another possible for O’Brien although the French Guineas is a more likely route.
Godolphin have supplemented the Andre Fabre-trained Territories, an impressive winner of a Group Three recently. Richard Hannon has left in Estidhkaar, Ivawood and Kool Kompany along with Moheet. Richard Hughes has chosen Ivawood but the each-way interest has got to be Moheet. He ran a race full of promise in the Craven where he stayed on really well. Frankie Dettori is on fire and has chosen him instead of Al Shaqab’s other contender The Wow Signal. Moheet is still 25/1 in some books and that looks each-way value although he could, of course, be more of a Derby horse.
My other each-way money will be on the Roger Varian-trained Intilaaq, who was spectacularly impressive in a Newbury maiden on his return to action. He has been supplemented at a cost of £30,000 by owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum. Varian could also run last season’s Dewhurst winner, Belardo, but there would need to be give in the ground for him to take his chance and the forecast does not look too promising in that regard.
Varian told his website: “Intilaaq won at Newbury like a very good horse and he has trained beautifully since. He has natural speed to be comfortable at a mile but also has the stamina to stay further, which should stand him in good stead in a 2000 Guineas. He is a colt we have always held in high regard and we feel he deserves to take his chance in an open-looking race.”
Muharaar, Dutch Connection, Home Of The Brave, Nafaqa and Freddy Head’s Ride Like The Wind are others with a chance.
Then there is Elm Park. Qatar Racing are responsible for the Racing Post Trophy winner who has not had a prep race. But Andrew Balding has his team in great form and I can see his stable star running a huge race but, like Australia last year, he may not quite have the speed to win this and looks more of a Derby horse.