2,000 Guineas Preview
The 2,000 Guineas (15.45 Newmarket 30th April) was first run in 2009, and derives its name from the prize fund that was allocated to that inaugural running. It is run over the straight-mile course known as the Rowley Mile, and is the first classic of the season, hence only 3-year-olds are eligible to run in it.
Aidan O’Brien has won 5 of the last 11 renewals, and the only other trainer who has won it in that time and has a runner today is Jim Bolger.
13 Runners are set to go to post for the 2016 2,000 Guineas.
Air Force Blue
Was only second at Royal Ascot, but made giant strides in 3 races afterwards and could be right out of the top drawer. Stable have won 5 of the last 11 renewals, though trainer a little worried about his stamina, and War Front offspring have been more prolific at 2 than 3 so far. Could hack-up, but odds-on to do so.
Air Vice Marshall
Has about 5-lengths to find with Air Force Blue through a line with Birchwood.
Seemed to relish really fast ground at Royal Ascot when beating Air Force Blue, and ran well in lots of top races last season. However, he was not tried beyond 6-furlongs last year. It remains to be seen whether the step-up in trip can bring further improvement, but his trainer has started the season in fine form.
Won 4 of first 4 races, but was 10 lengths behind Buratino in that one defeat. Also ran poorly twice in Meydan.
Rattled-up a hat-trick in June and July, including a group-2, and trainer has been in excellent form in the last two-weeks.
Herald The Dawn
Looks sure to be suited by the step-up in trip, and his sire was just touched-off in this race to Henry The Navigator. The stable did win the race with another of his sire’s off-spring three years ago, and no surprise if he runs a big race before heading to the Derby.
No chance on ratings, and owners are probably just having a day out.
33/1 shock winner of the Racing Post Trophy, but that form has been let down since, and is usually more of a Derby trial anyway. Trainer has won plenty of classics though, and interesting of money comes for him.
Highly touted before finishing second on his debut, then won a maiden very easily. Last of 3 runs was when 3-lengths second to Air Force Blue in the Dewhurst and, though that leaves him with plenty to find, he’s one of the least experienced in the field.
Group-2 Mill Reef winner last year, but just an average fourth in France on seasonal debut.
Made giant strides in a short space of time last season, and continued that progression with victory in the Crave Stakes. Chance would have probably been better on softer ground, but not without a chance.
Third in a conditions race on his last start, and that’s nowhere near good enough.
Well-gambled on winning all-weather debut, but nearer last in two group-3 races afterwards. Likely improver this year having not raced until September, but needs to improve massively to win this.
If you’re happy to take odds-on, then don’t let me put you off backing Air Force Blue. However, if you’re more of an each-way backer then the likes of Herald The Dawn and Massaat look sure to improve for the mile, and may give the favourite most to think about.