It’s Classics weekend at Newmarket, and Richard Hannon Jr can double his 2000 Guineas tally with Barney Roy, who currently sits at 7/2 (on Grosvenor Sport), having won the race in 2014 with Night Of Thunder.
The Godolphin inmate impressed with victory in the Greenham Stakes at Newbury, when defeating Dream Castle by two lengths in a decent time. The field that day finished stretched out giving the form a solid look, and with the fast ground and extra furlong very much in his favour, he looks to have a big chance on Saturday.
Dream Castle (14/1) may end up being a Commonwealth Cup horse, as he doesn’t look short of speed, but Godolphin have elected to go for the Guineas this weekend, renewing acquaintance with his Newbury conqueror Barney Roy (7/2). I’d be very surprised if he reversed the form though, as he needs to learn to settle better, but there’s no denying he possesses plenty of raw talent. Completing the Godolphin three-pronged attack is outsider Top Score.
Ireland’s masterful trainer, Aidan O’Brien, has won the 2000 Guineas on seven occasions, including twice in the last five years. He saddles Churchill (11/8) who has been the ante-post favourite for this race since his Royal Ascot success last June.
A two-time Group One winner (National Stakes and Dewhurst), this son of the mighty sire Galileo, was a prolific winning two-year-old. His form in the Dewhurst has already been franked by third-placed Blue Point (a winner at Ascot on Wednesday), and runner-up and stable companion Lancaster Bomber (25/1), who ran second at the Breeders Cup meeting in Santa Anita. The latter lines up on Saturday for the O’Brien stable too, as does outsider Spirit Of Valor.
Newmarket trainer Martyn Meade can hardly contain his excitement over the prospects of the unbeaten Eminent (5/1). He has won both of his starts over the course and distance, and caught the eye with a comfortable success in the Craven last month (Larchmont Lad 5th) when he stayed on strongly to score by a cosy one and three-quarter lengths. It did take a long while to find stride that day, and it does concern me somewhat, that he might be tapped for toe against these top notchers.
The French have done pretty well in this race over the years, and Andre Fabre runs a fascinating contender in Al Wukair (4/1). Having won twice as a juvenile, it was his comeback success in a Group Three at Maisons-Laffitte that earmarked him as a leading fancy for the Guineas. Described as a laid-back colt, he is another who will appreciate the step up to a mile. Fabre won this race back in 1995 with Pennekamp, and trained the runner-up in Territories just two years ago. Law And Order makes up the ten runners, but on all known form would have to improve significantly to figure.
The 2000 Guineas may lack the quantity in numbers, but it certainly does not lose out on quality. Churchill represents powerful connections and boasts top quality two-year old form, but I will take Barney Roy (7/2) to lower his colours and land the first Classic of the season.