Thursday, May 1, 2014

2000 Guineas 2014

This year's 2000 Guineas is as open and competitive as I can think of one in recent years. There is no Frankel or a George Washington that towers over the field and what is equally surprising is that at least half of the 14-runner field look to have a chance to win. Fascinating contest in store indeed. I will throw in what I think are the 5 leading contenders but it would not be shocking if the winner came out of that pack.

Kingman is the deserving favourite. Undefeated in 3 races, he showed that he lost non of his juvenile ability by winning the Greenham on his seasonal debut by an impressive 4.5 lengths. The manner of his win suggests that the mile looks well within his grasp although a mile and a quarter might stretch him being a son of Invincible Spirit. At this point, this colt is very much unexposed and being trained by John Gosden must give him a first-rate chance. His odds are definitely on the short side but if he is able to reproduce that customary stunning turn of foot on the good underfoot conditions, he should be in the thereabouts.

Australia is the hyped horse from Ballydoyle. Since he's been dubbed "the best Flat horse I've ever trained" by Aidan O'Brien, he's shot towards the top of the market. This all looks paper talk so far; being a son of Galileo out of Ouija Board, his pedigree suggests that he's more apt for the Derby than the mile distance. He's won 2 of his 3 races, and his last trouncing of the highly-regarded Free Eagle on his last juvenile run suggests that he could indeed be special. I suppose the Ballydoyle trainer must have had his reasons to put this colt on such a pedestal but I am not convinced that he's got the speed to win this mile event among such a talented group. If he does win, he could be the next Sea The Stars. An interesting case to follow though.

Toormore is another colt putting his undefeated credentials on the line. His sire being Arakan and representing the Hannon stable, there are bound to be shades of comparison with Dick Turpin which emerged a very creditable third in this race a few years ago. Although his win in his seasonal bow was workmanlike, he showed he possessed the qualities for a fight that will stand him in good stead for the race. He could be the value pick to be in the first 3 given his odds in the market.

This one might be a surprise pick for some but I cannot recall a horse from Spain being heralded as is Noozhoh Canarias. This son of the high-class miler Caradak is a winner of 4 out of 5 races and his lone defeat came after a valiant struggle with top sprinter Karakontie in the Grand Criterium last year. He's clearly highly-regarded by connections and if he takes to the Rowley Mile, he could have major Place contender.

Last, I will throw in Kingston Hill, the winner of last year's Racing Post Trophy and still undefeated. The fact that Saturday will be his first race of the season does not give much indication of what kind of form or fitness he carries going in the race. He's a first-year product of Mastercraftsman, a sire that I very much admire and which I think can produce very high-class horses if given the chance with proper mares. I think this colt will show up with a good display but my feeling is that he will not be fully wound-up to win in such good company.

I will go for Kingman for the win and Toormore and Noozhoh Canarias to follow him home.

Win: Kingman
Place: Toormore, Noozhoh Canarias

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