IT’S Guineas weekend at Newmarket and before we sink our teeth into the classic generation, let’s first whet our appetites with today’s sizzling Coronation Cup.
A five-time Group 1 winner takes on last year’s Epsom Derby winner – Stradivarius versus Anthony Van Dyck. But wait, neither of these horses are actually favourites to win!
Godolphin enjoyed top-level success courtesy of Victor Ludorum at Deauville on Monday and they will have high hopes for Pinatubo tomorrow but it is Ghaiyyath who could continue the winning streak this afternoon.
One of very few European horses who has actually had a run this season, Charlie Appleby’s Dubawi colt enjoyed Group success at Meydan in February. Having won last season’s Grosser Preis von Baden by a whopping 14 lengths before going too fast too early in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, this guy is a headstrong sort but could expose the fitness of his rivals by setting a strong pace. Tactics will be fascinating, not least from Frankie Dettori who rides Stradivarius.
John Gosden will have Stadivarius in shape for today’s assignment but one must assume his main target is to win a third consecutive Ascot Gold Cup and while this is a very important race, I wonder will Dettori ride today’s race with Ascot in his mind. After all, the royal meeting is less than a fortnight away.
Either way, Anthony Van Dyck is another strong contender. Were he to bounce back to his best, he could prove the value bet of the race. This is a Group 1 full of immense talent, what a way to start the weekend!
Newmarket’s 2,000 Guineas is one of the most coveted classics of the year. This is a stallion making race, won by the likes of Frankel, Sea The Stars, Rock Of Gibraltar, El Gran Senor and so on.
Some horses arrive at Newmarket boasting flawless race records as juveniles only for this race to expose their weaknesses and shortcomings. Tomorrow that pressure lies with Godolphin’s brilliant juvenile Pinatubo.
Like last Monday’s French 2,000 Guineas winner, this horse is by the late Shamardal and what he achieved last year was nothing short of incredible.
Six wins from six runs between May and October – never looking beaten and producing a scintillating performance at the Curragh in the National Stakes to he beat Arizona by a massive nine lengths. He confirmed that form by two lengths at Newmarket in the Dewhurst but now he must answer the next question. Will he be as good this season?
The vibes emanating from camp Ballydoyle have been very bullish regarding Arizona and team Balding expect Kemeko to be even better this season. The opposition are queuing up to dethrone Godolphin’s ace – Arizona, Royal Dornoch, Wichita, Mums Tipple, Kameko and more will all have William Buick in their sights. This has all the ingredients to be a brilliant race. The straight mile at Newmarket – one dream will become reality.
Ireland is well represented in Sunday 1,000 Guineas. Aidan O’Brien sends over last season’s Moyglare Stakes winner Love while Jessica Harrington saddles her Cheveley Park Stakes winner Millisle.
Harrington has targeted this race ever since Millisle beat Raffle Prize at the course last Autumn and cleverly booked the services of Champion Jockey Oisin Murphy when it became clear that stable jockey Shane Foley wouldn’t be able to travel.
As a daughter of Invincible Spirit, a mile could prove the optimum trip for this mare while Love could ultimately be an Oaks filly. The Irish challenge is a formidable one but they will all have to be at their best to beat Fillies Mile winner Quadrilateral.
This daughter of Frankel beat Love over course and distance in the Fillies Mile last October and while she has only had three runs, she’s look explosive on all her appearances to date. Jockey Jason Watson will likely ride a waiting race, hoping to save her acceleration for the final furlong and with a number of prominent runners in the race, it could play right into his hands.
And to think this is only the beginning of summer...