One of the biggest fields for the 2000 Guineas we have seen in a number of years and although there’s arguably no stand-out horse in this line-up there are several at bigger prices that remain of interest ahead of the first Classic of the Flat Season.
There are a few in here that simply don’t have a chance on either ratings or form and I think we can safely rule out a few of these – the horse’s to focus on here in my opinion are the following: Set Piece, Advertise and the O’Brien pair (Ten Sovereigns and Magna Grecia).
The first horse I want to focus on is the Hugo Palmer trained Set Piece. It seems a long time ago now that we were on Galileo Gold for the Guineas from the same stable and although technically on Time Form figures he hasn’t achieved what Galileo Gold had by this stage of his career, he has reportedly come out of the Craven Stakes in excellent order. He travelled into contention that day as if he was going to go very close and although he was run out of things into 3rd there were plenty of positives to take out of his effort that day, not least the fact it was his first outing on the turf. Although Royal Marine was arguably unlucky not to finish ahead of Set Piece that day I have my doubts about connections opting for the first-time hood and with 5 places on offer with Sky and Paddypower I do think Set Piece is overpriced at 20/1-22/1 and certainly shouldn’t be double the price of the re-opposing Royal Marine. The first-time tongue-tie should also help. Skardu was of course the winner of The Craven Stakes and based on that effort deserves to be where he is in the market but just 2L separating Set Piece from that horse I am not convinced he should be 3 times the price.
If there’s a solid Group 1 horse in this field with form at the track then it’s Advertise. He was a 2nd to what looked a superstar last summer in the Coventry when beaten by Calyx and he made no mistake in recording back-to-back victories in Group 2 and Group 1 company, beating So Perfect in the Phoneix Stakes at The Curragh conceding 3lbs. He will go on the ground, acts at the track and having only found Too Darn Hot too strong in the Dewhurst he deserves to feature prominently in the market for this. At 8/1-15/2 he looks a very solid each way angle to this and it would take an under-performance from this horse not to finish in the first 4 or 5 home.
The O’Brien trained pair will be an obvious focal point for a vast majority of punters and rightly so with Aidan O’Brien having now won the 2000 Guineas three times in the last four years. Both Ten Sovereigns and Magna Grecia have proven themselves in Group 1 company but what is certain is that Magna Grecia will stay this trip. Ten Sovereigns may have course form but this represents a fair step up in distance for him and despite the fact that he is technically 7lbs clear of Magna Grecia on ratings the reports from the stable are that there’s very little to split the pair at home. This wouldn’t be the first time that Ryan Moore has opted for the wrong O’Brien horse and I’m sure it won’t be the last. At the prices and with proven form over this trip Magna Grecia makes the most appeal.
From the very outsiders I must finally give a small mention to the James Tate trained Name The Wind. I was forewarned a big run was expected last time and he did well to get the better of Senza Limiti (the work partner of Skardu). Senza Limiti wouldn’t be up to Skardu’s level but the fact that Name The Wind had the beating of that horse at Kempton tells me that he is no 50/1 shot (80/1 with Bet365). We have seen shocks in The 2000 Guineas before – Night of Thunder being one when winning in 2014 at 40/1 and albeit he’ll struggle to compete at this level there’s a small chance he could grab a place if the race falls apart for him.
Summary of Top 3 selections:
Set Piece (22/1-20/1) – Each Way (5 places Sky, Paddy’s)
Advertise (15/2-8/1) – Each Way (5 places)
Magna Grecia (5/1) – Each Way (5 places)
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