Former Talksport man Charlie McCann casts a detailed eye over the tricky 1000 Guineas at Newmarket on Sunday.
If the 2000 Guineas looks a one-horse race the fillies’ equivalent on Sunday, the 1000 Guineas, looks a tough nut to crack with 23 entries at the five day stage including current market leader Moonlight Cloud (9/2 with ) looking to give the French their third winner in the last four years.
No match for Richard Fahey’s unbeaten colt Wootton Bassett on very soft ground in the Grand Criterium she showed she had trained on when 2L too good for Helleborine in the Prix Imprudence on her reappearance at Maisons-laffitte earlier in the month.
Her ability to handle ground as fast as she will encounter on Sunday must be taken on trust, but her trainer Freddie Head insists she is top class and her race fitness could prove the key if she handles the expected fast ground.
Memory (11/2) the brilliant Albany and Cherry Hinton Stakes winner as a juvenile blotted her copybook on her final start in the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes at the Curragh. That was the only time she was asked to race over 7f at two but she is certainly bred to get a mile and is reported to be in rude health ahead of the classic. Richard Hannon Jnr in a recent interview on ATR suggested Memory was the stable’s best chance yet of winning the race. I agree.
It is eight years since Russian Rhythym gave Sir Michael Stoute his second win in the race but the Newmarket handler has an outstanding chance with the unbeaten Havant (5/1) although she is another unproven on fast ground. The form of her win in the 7f Group 3 Oh So Sharp Stakes has taken a number of knocks and her high knee action suggests she would be at her best with plenty of cut in the ground.
Stoute admits he doesn’t know how she will cope with underfoot conditions as he hasn’t really worked her on grass because of the dry spring and he is hoping she will not be too inconvenienced. She looks more of an Oaks filly to me although significant rain would be a help and the girl who rides the horse in all her work is convinced good ground won’t be a problem.
Moyglare Stakes winner Misty For Me (7/1) followed up in the Prix Marcel Boussac on Arc day beating Helleborine (btn 2L by Moonlight Cloud at Maisons-Lafite) a length on very soft ground. She has winning form on fast ground and is bidding to give Aidan O’Brien only his second win in the race. Another who I think will get further in time and I can see her running a cracking Epsom trial without troubling the principles.
Barry Hills saddled Ghanaati to win the race two years ago and his Make A Dance has a similar profile in that this lightly-raced filly won a modest maiden on her second juvenile start. She was 25/1 a couple of weeks ago but is now into 12/1 on the back of some encouraging reports from Lambourn, although her bare form leaves her something to find with the rest of the principles.
It is a big weekend for Jessica Harrington who saddles Pathfork on Saturday and Laughing Lashes (8/1) on Sunday. Laughing Lashes finished runner up in three of her four starts as a 2-y-o but did beat Misty For Me a length in the Group 2 Debutante Stakes back in August. Harrington is better known for her jumpers (horses not the woolly ones) and expectation is high for Punchestown next week where her brilliant novice hurdler Oscars Well, so unlucky at Cheltenham, has the opportunity to put the record straight on Friday. It would be some feat if Harrington were able to land a British classic ahead of the biggest jumps week of the Irish season and she certainly holds each way claims in both races.
The 1000 Guineas is a tricky puzzle to solve; do you forgive Memory her sole defeat in Ireland? Will the fact that French raider Moonlight Cloud has had a prep run sway things in her favour? Will the ground have enough ease not to inconvenience Havant (5/1)? Can Jessica Harrington saddle a famous Guineas’ double with Pathfork and Laughing Lashes? The waiting is almost over.
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