Former Talksport man Charlie McCann marks your card with five to follow on Saturday at Newmarket & Punchestown. View selections below
Kingman heads a field of 14 for the first classic of the season with John Gosden’s colt well supported into favouritism after his annihilation of the field in Greenham Stakes at Newbury last month.
Comparisons are inevitable, but futile, with the incomparable Frankel the last horse to do the Greenham/Guineas double given they both run in the colours of Prince Khalid Abdullah and. Despite rumours circulating in the aftermath that the apple of Aidan O’Brien’s eye Australia (3.50) would not run at Newmarket, the colt arrives safe and sound and must be the selection.
2000 Guineas prices from BetVictor
War Command 9/1
Kingston Hill 10/1
O’Brien has already saddled the winner of the first classic of the season on half a dozen occasions and a seventh success would equal the record of John Scott set in the 19th Century. The Ballydoyle handler has made no secret as to how highly he rates his beautifully bred colt, a son of Derby winner Galileo out of the brilliant Oaks winner Ouija Board, and whilst some have suggested the Derby (Australia 9/4 for the Derby and 16/1 for the Triple Crown) is his primary objective O’Brien insists he is not short of speed for the Newmarket mile.
Beaten at the Curragh on debut, when green and slowly away, the colt was not particularly impressive when landing his maiden on his next start but it was the Group 3 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Trial that marked him down as being a potential star. Allowed to go off 5/2 in a four-runner race he pulverised Free Eagle who, himself, had been touted as a superstar when scoring by 5 lengths on debut..
It looks like a vintage Guineas; Toormore and Kingman for Britain but Australia, granted good or faster ground, gets the vote for Ireland and a Magnificent Seven for Aidan O’Brien in the first Classic of the season.
Elsewhere on the card, Jim Bolger’s Trading Leather (3.10) was a winner at the track in his 2-y-o days winning the Autumn Stakes from Richard Hannon’s classy Montiridge and providing the ground stays on the right side of the good, he has to have excellent claims running in the Godolphin blue for the first time.
The Irish Derby hero held his form well throughout an excellent campaign last season, placed in three further Group 1’s including chasing home Novelist and Declaration of War in the King George and International Stakes respectively; he looks the class act and genuine Group One animal running in a G2 field.
Mark Johnston’s Windhoek won last year’s renewal of the Newmarket Stakes, seemingly appreciating the step up in trip and a horse of a similar ilk is Luca Cumani’s Postponed (5.00) with connections declaring themselves delighted after his third behind Toormore in the Craven Stakes at the track here last month.
The colt’s pedigree screams stamina and it would be no surprise to see him contesting races over a mile and a half later in the season and this seems the natural step for an animal that is held in the highest of regard back home.
Saturday is also the final day of Punchestown’s festival, which traditionally brings the curtain down on the national hunt season for another year and Annie Power (3.45) is the card’s highlight bidding to bounce back from her first defeat in the World Hurdle last time out at Cheltenham.
She will likely be a very short price for the Mares Champion Hurdle in a race that should see her sign off over the smaller obstacles before a campaign over fences next season and she is 12/1 for the Arkle and 8/1 for the RSA Chase at the 2015 Cheltenham Festival with BetVictor.
Tiger Roll (4.20) bids to win back-to-back G1’s after his impressive win in the Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival and will be difficult to beat if turning up in the same mood as he did at Prestbury Park last month.