1000 Guineas Day Preview & Selections

In the 1000 Guineas itself, the ante post bet on Iridessa at 20/1 is looking quite nice and I’m happy enough with it. The only concern would be that the track bias turns out to be similar to yesterday’s, although I think that the major factor in the Guineas was Shine So Bright breaking so quickly up the rail, giving the three horses on that side a nice passage into the race off a strong pace. I’m going to have another small bet in the Guineas today on Mot Juste who was weak in the betting before the Nell Gwynn and should come on for the run. She hit the front just a bit too early and I reckon she’ll appreciate the step up to the mile. It’s easy to get 20/1 on the exchanges this morning.
0.5pt win Mot Juste 20/1 (general)
Already Advised: 1pt win Iridessa 20/1

In the 4:30 at Gowran I’m quite keen on Lady Olenna, who I thought ran a nice race last time out. She broke slowly and and Colin Keane allowed her to take her time under an easy ride, but she made up ground nicely without Keane asking too many questions to finish just 6 lengths behind the winner. 33/1 seems generous.
1pt win Lady Olenna 33/1 (BetVictor, Betway, William Hill)

Saturday’s In-Form Trainers Across the Cards

In-Form Trainers

It seemed that Kim Bailey had a case of seconditis in the last few weeks, with his runners from April 11th-17th recording form figures of P222PP42. However, in more recent days they have been managing to get their heads in front, and their form in the last two weeks reads 385211161. He runs four today at Uttoxeter:
2:45 – Masteen – non-runner
3:25 – First Flow – non-runner
4:00 – Station Master – 9th at 7/1
4:35 – Silver Kayf – non-runner

It’s likely that Marcus Tregoning won’t see today as being particularly successful, with Greenham winner Mohaather missing what looks to be a wide open Guineas. However, the Greenham win was just one of a number of successes for Tregoning in the last month or so, with his form from March 23rd onwards (he hadn’t had a runner in almost 3 weeks before this point) reading 1312181241. He just runs one today at Newmarket:
1:50 – Power Of Darkness – 7th at 7/2

Declan Queally has had just one runner at Punchestown this week and although Fennos Storm did make the places in 3rd, he was a long way behind the winner. However, Queally’s string appear to be in good order, with form of 212422131051U13 since the beginning of April. This is a 33% strike rate in the last 30 days (he has operated at a strike rate of around 10% through his career although that has increased to around 24% in the last year) and a 67% win/place rate (about 33% throughout his career but up to 51% in the last year). He runs one today at Punchestown:
3:10 – Cloudy Morning – 1st at 11/1

2000 Guineas Weekend – The Trainers

Guineas weekend is here. With Punchestown winding down today, the last reminders of the jumps season will simply become memories and a flat season which up until now may have felt as if it was still beginning to kick into gear is most definitely in full swing. This weekend at Newmarket will see some of the game’s most talented, most exciting fillies and colts battle it out over what is one of the truest tests of the thoroughbred possible, the Rowley Mile.

While the Lincoln at Doncaster may seem like a long time ago, it has to be acknowledged that this is still early in the season – many see this as the turning point, when the warmup ends and the game begins. Plenty of horses we see this weekend (indeed plenty of the protagonists in some of the biggest races, including the Classics) will be having their first run of the season, so it pays to take a look at which trainers tend to have their horses primed and ready, and which have the best record at this meeting.

Andre Fabre

The first mention has to go to the Frenchman who in the last decade has brought 7 horses to Newmarket on Guineas weekend, with 3 winners and a 2nd and 3rd to boot. Fabre’s runners at this meeting since 2003 have form figures of 351514112513, and perhaps most interestingly, only 4 of them were favourites. Baking all of Fabre’s runners since 2003 would have given a tidy SP profit of +9.91. The profit figures, along with Fabre’s A/E of 1.61, suggest that the market still may underestimate French raiders, favouring horses from these isles whose form we know better.

Ralph Beckett

Beckett hasn’t had a winner at this meeting in the last 3 years, but can’t be criticised for this – three of his five runners in that period of time went off at double-figure prices, and his form read 02262, with the three runners-up going off at starting prices of 7/1, 16/1 and 9/1. Looking back at the three years prior to that, he had a winner at a double-figure price each year, with his overall record over the last decade reading 4 winners from 17 (24%) and a further 5 places, meaning that more than half of his runners have made the frame despite the fact that not one of them was sent off favourite (in fact, not one of them was shorter than 4/1 and 10 of the 17 went off at double-figure prices). This brings Beckett’s A/E to an impressive 2.41.

Sir Michael Stoute

Sir Michael Stoute has had more runners at the meeting than either of the two trainers discussed so far, which makes his 22% strike rate (9 winners from 41 runners) all the more impressive. He drew a blank last year with neither of his two runners making the frame, but had a winner at the meeting in each of the 5 preceding years, and it would have been profitable to blindly back all of his runners in each of those years. In earlier years his runners tended to be well fancied in the market, although he has only trainer one clear favourite at the meeting in the last 3 years. His A/E over the last decade is 1.15.

Charlie Appleby

It would be ridiculous to discuss trainers at the meeting without mentioning Charlie Appleby, who trained 5 winners across the two days last year. 2018 was a big step up for Appleby in terms of the amount of ammunition he fired at the meeting (17 runners, compared to 6, 5 and 2 in the previous three years) and so somewhat surprisingly, backing all of his runners last year would have resulted in a small loss (of -0.59 at industry SP, although backing all of them at Betfair SP would have resulted in a profit of 1.47 – his A/E was 1.29). Appleby didn’t have any winners from his 11 runners in 2014 and 2015, although 4 of them did finish either 2nd or 3rd. In 2016 his success was eyecatching, with form across the two days of 23114, and he went on to train another two winners at the meeting the following year (517166) before sending out 5 winners and 5 placed horses from 17 runners last year. Overall, his strike rate is 9 from 39 (23%), with an A/E of 1.22 and a win/place strike rate of 51% (20 from 39).

Jim Bolger

Bolger might not be the most obvious trainer to finish up with, as he’s not renowned for sending his horses here – he has saddled 115 runners at the Irish Guineas meeting in the last 10 years, and has sent just 10 runners to Newmarket for Guineas weekend in the same space of time. These have yielded just one winner (Dawn Approach in the 2000 Guineas in 2013) but 6 of the 10 have made the frame. You could argue that Bolger has underperformed with Trading Leather (4/6 favourite) and Lucida (9/2 favourite) only managing 3rd and 2nd respectively in recent years – however, his other three placed horses returned odds of 15/2, 12/1 and 25/1 and it’s striking that the only four Bolger runners in the last 10 years which failed to make the frame had starting prices of 28/1, 50/1, 25/1 and 20/1. Using the implied probabilities from Betfair’s place markets, Bolger’s A/E in terms of making the frame is 1.77.

This Year

Fabre, Beckett and Bolger don’t run anything at Newmarket on Saturday, which leaves just two trainers, with three runners between them:
1:50 – Elector (Sir Michael Stoute) – 1st
1:50 – Vintager (Charlie Appleby) – 3rd
3:35 – Al Hilalee (Charlie Appleby) – 16th

And Sunday:
1:50 – Melting Dew (Sir Michael Stoute)
2:20 – Veracious (Sir Michael Stoute)
2:55 – On The Warpath (Charlie Appleby)
4:10 – Path Of Thunder (Charlie Appleby)

2000 Guineas Day Selections

The Irish National Hunt season comes to a close today at Punchestown but the main focus will obviously be on Newmarket, where the first real highlight of the flat seasons takes place in terms of the 2000 Guineas.

Punchestown
The Mares Champion Hurdle sees just 5 runners go to post and Benie Des Dieux, who arguably improved from Cheltenham to Punchestown last year, really should be good enough to win and it just doesn’t seem like a betting race. The other grade one on the card is the Champion Four Year Old Hurdle and it might be a more attractive betting prospect. Fusil Raffles is the 7/4 favourite and certainly has leading claims based on his Adonis win and on the fact that he comes here a fresh horse. However, I’m a bit surprised to see that Fakir D’Oudairies is 3/1 and I think he looks a fair play in a race where there should arguably be joint favourites.
Fakir D’Oudairies 1pt win 3/1

The other race I’m interested in is the handicap hurdle at 5:35, which features two horses that I’ve been keeping an eye on. Cartwright lost significant ground at the start in the Martin Pipe but came home very strongly. He was disappointing at Ayr next time out but certainly wouldn’t have liked the ground there, with a strong preference for testing conditions. Canardier’s preference in terms of the going appeared to be the opposite before this spring, when he was a good 5th in the Coral Cup and then 3rd in the Merseyrail Handicap Hurdle at Aintree. He has only gone up a pound since the latter and it’s his form in big fields that makes him particularly interesting – his form in fields of 16 or more reads 13153. The ground might be a small bit on the good side for Cartwright, but Canardier is of interest and can be backed at 10/1 with Paddy Power, who are paying 6 places.
Canardier 0.5pt e/w 10/1 (1/5 odds 6 places, Paddy Power)

Newmarket
3:35 – I’ve backed Magna Grecia in the 2000 Guineas ante post and would stick with him at 5/1 – the money is coming for Ten Sovereigns but this can be explained by jockey bookings. I have my doubts over whether a stiff mile is ideal for the favourite, while there are no such concerns for Magna Grecia. Skardu could well keep improving but he looks a bit short after winning a messy race in the Craven. Madhmoon had to give away 3 pounds to a race-fit horse on tough ground in the Leopardstown trial and that defeat probably wasn’t as disappointing as it may have seemed at first glance, but I thought that he might have been a bigger price off the back of that than he is. The same can be said for Royal Marine, who was just unlucky in the Craven but I wouldn’t want to back him at his price. Advertise has strong claims but again, the trip is a concern. I suspect that Shine So Bright will be seen to best effect over 7 furlongs, and Kick On might be best over 10 furlongs.

Al Hilalee is a Dubawi so should progress as a 3yo and should get the mile – he was very impressive on debut at the July Course last season. The very fact that he has been supplemented means that he is of interest, and I think that 16/1 isn’t a bad price.
Magna Grecia 2pt win 5/1 (general)
Al Hilalee 0.5pt win 16/1 (general)

4:45 – UAE Jewel is a seriously exciting horse and one to keep a close eye on this season. Walkinthesand got to within a neck of Kick On in the Fielden Stakes and the winner had the advantage of a lead on the rail. He didn’t look 100% before the race and so should come on for the run, and he didn’t seem to deal that well with the dip either. With only four horses today, there doesn’t look to be much value in the race, but a close eye should be kept on both of these horses.