Qipco 2000 Guineas Preview
Newmarket takes centre stage this weekend for the first Classics of the 2021 Flat season. The colts get their chance to shine in the Qipco 2000 Guineas on the Rowley Mile and this year’s renewal looks a wide-open affair. The antepost betting has been all over the place in recent weeks with numerous horses fluctuating quite substantially in the betting.
At the time of writing, Aiden O’Brien’s Wembley is the current favourite and has solid claims on his two-year-old form. Six starts yielded form figures of 322122 which included 2 runner up finishes in Group 1 company behind stable mate, St Mark’s Basilica, who hasn’t been declared. This form earnt Wembley an Official Rating of 118 giving him the highest in the field. He appeared to finish his races off extremely well last season, and this step up to a mile should really suit. Both Ryan and Aiden have been in fantastic early season form and I think Wembley represents a solid proposition for the Ballydoyle master. Aiden also saddles two other runners, Battleground and Van Gogh. Battleground physically looks a monster but did come on plenty for his first start last season so that goes against him here, on his first start of the season. Van Gogh impressed me as a two-year-old but did tend to show his best form on a much softer surface than he encounters here.
Joseph O’Brien was no stranger to big wins as a jockey and has taken to training in similar fashion, winning his first Classic with Galileo Chrome in the St Ledger last season. He saddles Thunder Moon who was seriously impressive on his first two starts before slightly disappointing when third in the Dewhurst behind the reopposing Wembley. That did come on soft ground though and there is the possibility that it blunted his deadly turn of foot. He is an interesting contender. Of the other Irish raiders, I thought Lucky Vega was an interesting runner for Jessica Harrington. He was visually very impressive on a few starts last season, before enduring a luckless passage when finishing behind Wembley and a few others in the Vincent O’Brien National Stakes. He went on to finish the season with a very good second to Supremacy over 6 furlongs in the Middle Park. I think this piece of form will look stronger and stronger as the season goes on. Given the way Lucky Vega finished his two-year-old races, and the stamina on his Dam’s side, I’d be hopeful he’ll stay and he could be a lively each way player.
The English charge for this year’s Qipco 2000 Guineas is currently headed by Charles Hill’s Mutasaabeq who has been well supported since the declarations. Jim Crowley takes the ride aboard this colt who is 2/2 for both his lifetime starts and appearances at the track. Out of a 1000 Guineas winner, he should have no problem staying and was visually very impressive on his sole three-year-old start to date. Plenty of Guineas winners have won this on their seasonal reappearance but I do like the fact we know this fella is match fit and in really good form. The early market support is interesting given he heralds from one of the smaller yards and he could be a bit special.
Godolphin fire three darts at this year’s renewal and according to the betting One Ruler would appear to have the best chance. His course and distance form looks rock solid, and we know he will see out the mile well. William Buick has however opted to ride Master Of The Seas who has taken quite the walk in the market. I was impressed with his reappearance run and thought he was good for a little more than the winning margin suggested. We know he handles the track and quicker conditions so I must say the early market drift is a little concerning. Of the other English runners, I thought Chindit was worth a mention as he boasts a fine record on quick ground and was a good winner of his seasonal reappearance. Richard Hannon has expressed his concerns about him handling the track so that would be a major worry.
This really does look a wide-open renewal and with the betting all over the place, it is hard to get a gauge on where the strong confidence lies. Wembley looks the solid option to me, but I’m going to side with the race fit Mutasaabeq who looked like he could be a bit special on his sole three year old start. In a shaky looking market, he has been rock solid which could prove a big clue in itself. Of those at bigger prices, my each way play in the race would be Lucky Vega who I believe is a nice price at around the 12/1 mark. He visually strikes me has having an abundance of speed but also the stamina required to do well in a 2000 Guineas.
My idea of the winner – Mutasaabeg 9/2
Each Way Play – Lucky Vega 12/1
- Mutasaabeq 9/2
- Wembley 4/1
- Lucky Vega 12/1
By Sam Rideout
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