LAST WEEKEND WE HAD THE GUINEAS: NOW FOR EPSOM
Last weekend staged the first two Classics of the season and there was action aplenty. The weather was cold and windy on the Saturday which had the fingertips feeling numb and the tailwind seemed to get stronger as the afternoon went on. On the Sunday the Sun appeared and stayed throughout proceedings while the wind reversed and blew mildly into the runners.
The Two Thousand Guineas had been a one horse book ever since Air Force Blue flew home in the Dewhurst earning rapturous plaudits not least from rider Ryan Moore who was positively effusive in his compliments. Normally it takes the Hacks a crowbar to get anything from the taciturn pilot but on that occasion he couldn’t sing enough praises. Consequently the colt was sent into Winter quarters as one of the hottest favourites in living memory.
The vibes during the Spring were positive enough but on the weekend trainer Aiden O’Brien was starting to raise a few question marks that hadn’t been there before. The appearance of the colt in the paddocks enhanced that unease as he hadn’t grown at all and looked as if he had had one gallop too many with a poverty line manifest on his hind quarters. His whole presence was less impressive than it had been before the Dewhurst. In the race he was never going and was beaten before the contest developed in earnest. With Massaat taking second place – and who was second to Air Force Blue in the Dewhurst; and with stablemate Air Vice Marshall finishing fourth, it is pretty obvious that something was wrong and that looks alone could in no way explain the colt’s demise. As an aside it was interesting that ‘The Boys’ were noticeable by their absence. They did however turn up on the Sunday.
An appraisal of the rest of the contestants beforehand indicated there was not much between Galileo Gold, Stormy Antarctic and Zonderland. The second mentioned looked really well but failed to show at all while the latter has done particularly well and can have a great year. Massaat and Buratino could not be faulted and presumably the latter will drop back in trip.
The card opened with a 9F handicap and the Mark Johnston colt Revolutionist acquitted himself well and being a half brother to the high class Dubai Destination, Librettist and Secret Number he can take higher rank especially over a longer trip and should be a factor in Heritage Handicaps this Summer.
The Palace House Stakes had 21 runners go to post with the John Gosden trained Waady sent off the 9/2 favourite. Of all the runners this now gelding seemed to need it the most and he should come on a bundle for the run. Inclined to sweat up last term he was again on his toes and will always be an excitable sort. Move In Time may be 8 years old but consistently took the eye and will need to be included in calculations in near at hand engagements.
Jack Hobbs was the other odds on shot to get turned over on the afternoon but he could not be faulted in the prelims and looked in fine trim. The winner Exosphere had done outstandingly well and there was no fluke here. Simple Verse has gone the right way since the Autumn. Big Orange looked light and disappointed.
In the 6F handicap for 3 year olds Godolphin’s Yattwee looked Listed Class at least and can step up.
The Newmarket Stakes over 10 furlongs attracted a fair field and the pick was Tathqeef. A rangy well made sort he was a lot sharper for his Craven outing and had worked well with Gosden yardstick Dick Doughtywhylie. However after moving nicely he fell in a hole and was unplaced. There is a chance that a curb on his hind quarter could be at play which might need attention if he is to progress. Sky Kingdom is going the right way but never got the run of the race and this effort is best forgotten.
Better weather on the Sunday added to the feel good factor.
The Group Two Dahlia Stakes attracted a host of the best older fillies and the race was won by the French trained Usherette. Turned out in a manner so typical of the maestro Andre Fabre the filly has been slow coming to hand but there was absolutely no fluke about her decisive win. An attractive well grown sort she has a backside that would make Jennifer Lopez look like a stick insect and the power was evident when she not only caught Arabian Queen but accelerated past to win in style. She will be a force in any contest. Amazing Maria had finished 4 lengths in front of her in the Prix Rothschild but was over 5 lengths behind this time. Nevertheless she continues to impress and should improve for the run and hopefully will be out and about in the top races. Irish Rookie and Arabian Queen have gone the right way. Jazzi Top was made favourite but looked as if she would improve for the run.
Captain Bob transferred to Robert Cowell in the close season and the handicapper never got a clear run for the second time in succession. His trainer is useful in getting the best out of sprinters and this son of Dark Angel should get back on the winners roster shortly.
A full complement of 16 runners went to post for the 1,000 Guineas and Minding was made 11/10 favourite. If Air Force Blue failed to impress on looks then Minding gave every indication that she had made full development since the Fillies Mile in October. If anything looking just a gallop short of peak fitness she is divinely proportioned and this handy sort seems the type to have few physical problems and hopefully will fulfil her potential and rack up a series of wins. Stablemate Ballydoyle was impressive and has done well from two but had to run from the back of the field and was never going to get into the argument. Alice Springs was third best on looks and being by Galileo will have a good campaign. All in all a good field.
Global Applause was well touted for the juvenile maiden and this good sort was fit for his first run. Royal Ascot is now on the agenda.
I mentioned in my Craven Report that I thought Swiss Range was a certainty for her maiden and would improve again. My positive analysis was confirmed when the daughter of Zamindar turned out for the Pretty Polly Stakes and showed her appreciation for the 10 furlongs by running away with the Listed contest. It looks like classic entries will be fulfilled and the French Oaks is hers for the taking. Australian Queen has a mark of 80 and she has middle distances in wait and should make good progress up the ladder this year. She has a lot of her dam Barshiba about her and she can develop into a fine racemare.
The concluding 10 furlong handicap is invariably a good source of future winners and this year’s renewal should be no different. Taqdeer was well backed as a result of his facile win at Chelmsford and won well. A good bodied workmanlike sort he will go up a deal for this win. The second Prize Money was conceding 8 pounds in weight and has Royal Ascot on the agenda. He is an impressive sort and well up to Listed class. Sam Missile was returning after 116 days off and was entitled to need the outing. With a mark of just 84 for an easy All Weather win he can run riot in handicaps.
As I mentioned last week due to sheer pressure of work I will not be adding to the articles I have been writing. I hope they have been of interest and I would especially like to thank Betfan for allowing me the platform to air my thoughts. I hope I have returned the courtesy by making sure I did not embarrass them by printing anything libellous.
Thank you all
Good Luck and May The Gambling Gods be With You.
Chris Anzani Racing