Review of Guineas Weekend with The Snout
The flat season is firmly back in full swing as we exit a fantastic Guineas weekend at HQ, with a number of really promising and exciting horses winning in fine style over the course of the 2 days. The importance of this weekend cannot be underestimated – last year winners included Goldream (went on to win the Kings Stand & the Prix De L’Abbaye), Twilight Son (won the Betfred Sprint Cup), Eastern Impact (Group 3 winner), Legatissimo (2nd in Oaks), Jazzi Top and more. The quality of the racing is such that a number of placed horses will go on to land big prizes this season. We look back at the weekend and discuss the key races.
The 2000 Guineas was won by Galileo Gold (14/1) under a superb ride from Frankie Dettori. Despite even running slightly keen in front he stayed on dourly in the final furlong to win by a comfortable distance. The key question is where does this horse go from here? Is he a Derby horse? On racing evidence and breeding there is a real chance he could get the trip. He is out of Paco Boy, but he is out of a Galileo mare and from the family of Montjeu, which in my opinion is some of the best possible blood to have in you when considering a Derby horse. He stayed the mile very well on Saturday and all evidence points towards him getting the trip. The Guineas is one of the best trials for the Derby and if connections decide to go for it, which is a big if, he must surely enter the picture.
There were some good runs in behind the son of Paco Boy – Buratino was just unsuited by the ground as he needs it very fast to be at full effect so don’t rule him out of a big prize this season.
I was very disappointed to see Air Force Blue blow out like he did. Everything pointed towards him running a big race, as the highest-rated 2 year old since Frankel had a lot going for him on his juvenile form. I am sure something will come to light in the coming days. I would imagine connections will plump for the Irish Guineas next and it will be interesting to see how he prices up.
Profitable (20/1) landed the Palace House Stakes with a late dash on the stands side rail. The race was an absolute minefield and I am sure that race will produce a few Group winners in the coming months. One I really take from the race is Cotai Glory. He wasn’t beaten far on ground that was just not quick enough for him to be seen on full effect. There is a Group race in him this year and I wouldn’t rule him out of running a big race in the Kings Stand, which I am sure is the aim. Waady was well backed and looked like he had progressed from 3 to 4, finishing 3rd.
Jack Hobbs was another favourite that blew out. Thankfully he is ok as it could have been worse, but connections were sure that his career would only just be starting as he turned 4 as his family did similar. Exosphere was the eventual winner of the race and he couldn’t have been more impressive. This horse could go on to big things this year. I wouldn’t give up on Star Storm either. He progressed hugely last year and although beaten fairly convincingly here he loomed up ominously 2f out but just got tired towards the end.
On Sunday, Minding was supreme over all fillies as she romped home in the 1000 Guineas. She was up with the pace early on which I’m not sure was the plan but sprinted clear of the rest. The Oaks probably would be a formality but she has been priced up for the Derby. I can’t see her going there, though. You must remember that the other side of AOB, other than being one of the best trainers in the world, is part of one of the biggest stallion operations in the world. I am sure connections would want to win the Derby with a colt for that purpose. He has a number entered in that race that could be anything, so it would be wrong to assume he has nothing better in his yard than Minding.
Lumiere was a big disappointment. I don’t think it was an issue of she didn’t stay, she just didn’t run to her level that connections had hoped. Something will more than likely come to light in the coming days. Ballydoyle ran on very well from the back of the field and could have been closer potentially with a more forward ride. She has plenty of entries in all the big fillies’ races this year and she looks very capable of landing one of those.
Usherette took the Dahlia stakes on the undercard on Sunday. She got the best ride as she was nicely settled on the rail and was delivered to take the race from Arabian Queen. Amazing Maria and Crystal Zvezda ran too keen to run their races but Amazing Maria deserves huge credit for staying on for third. Furia Cruzada ran a nice race for John Gosden and I think she was a little unlucky to not get 4th. She ran on well and I am sure this horse will win a decent race this year.
The Pretty Polly is a notorious race for delivering top class fillies and this was taken by the well backed Swiss Range. Despite John Gosden’s less-than-ideal stable form, she was well settled in the rear of the field and had a good turn of foot to win by 3L from Chicadoro. She looks like she could be very smart indeed. Even Song is surely better than she showed. Ryan Moore was seemingly caught in two minds when looking for room and she stayed on powerfully when given the all clear. I can see her being a solid horse at Listed/Group level for the rest of the season.
With Chester, the Dante festival and the Lockinge just around the corner, the next couple of weeks are crucial in giving clues for the classics to come over the course of the season.
One race also perked my interest on Sunday at Salisbury, which was the 2YO fillies Conditions stakes which was won by Stormy Clouds, trained by Richard Hannon. He has sent Tiggy Wiggy and Illuminate there in recent years and I think this one could well be top class, and looks Queen Mary bound. Keep an eye out for her as there looks more improvement to come.