Ol’ Man River Primed For Guineas Showboat
The first Classic of the Flat season takes place at Newmarket on Saturday courtesy of the 2,000 Guineas (3.45), where Aidan O’Brien seeks to win this historic race for a seventh time via the well fancied 9/4 favourite, Gleneagles.
This son of Galileo went through the gears last year winning consecutive Group 3, Group 2 and Group 1 events, prior to adding another Group 1 on his final outing in France (7f, good) – only to lose the race in the stewards’ room.
Nonetheless, his form is there for all to see, and the manner in which he travelled and quickened last year will be ideal for a race like the Guineas. And the fact he comes here having not run since France in October didn’t stop the yard’s, Camelot, overcoming an absence to win this race in 2012.
Gleneagles will also emerge from the right end of the market judged on recent renewals of this Group 1…
Of the last ten 2,000 Guineas winners…
10 made the top five last time
9 returned 8/1 or shorter
7 were British-bred
7 ran over 1m last time
A O’Brien won it four times
O’Brien also has Ol’ Man River entered (6/1), who is very much the dark horse of the race having won both outings last year.
The second of those was an impressive Group 2 win at the Curragh (1m, good to firm) in September, quickening well to come almost 3l clear. He could well be underestimated with Gleneagles grabbing the limelight, and each-way backers may be tempted.
Also fancied in the betting is Andre Fabre’s French raider, Territories (6/1), who was around 1/2l behind Gleneagles in France, prior to winning a Group 3 on his reappearance at Longchamp several weeks ago (1m, good to soft). That would have teed him up nicely for this, and there is every chance he could find the 1/2l he was beaten by Gleneagles, especially with fitness on his side.
Richard Hannon’s Estidhkaar (7/1), also has fitness on his side, having won a couple of Group 2’s over 7f last year, prior to a close second to Muhaarar (20/1) in the Group 3 Craven Greenham at Newbury a fortnight ago (7f, good to firm).
Estidhkaar raced with the choke out that day, though, and should be more settled at HQ on Saturday, with the extra furlong likely to suit this half-brother to Toormore.
Hannon also has Ivawood (10/1), a Group 2 winner over 6f last term, who was only just touched off in the Group 1 Middle Park in October, again over 6f. He got his chance to prove himself over further in the Greenham, but could manage only third, some 4l behind Muhaarar and Estidhkaar. He has a bit to prove.
Another on 10/1 is Roger Varian’s Intilaaq, who got off the mark at the second attempt in a maiden at Newbury (1m, good to firm). He came 8l clear that day in a very fast time, and deserves a crack at this level, as he looks a smart colt in the making.
A cracking renewal featuring a potential star in Gleneagles, but available at three times the odds is his unbeaten stablemate, Ol’ Man River, who impressed when last seen in September and could be the “forgotten horse”.