It is a big weekend in Newmarket with the first two Classics of the season, the Qipco 2,000 and 1,000 Guineas, taking place and I think we could see a real star in Auguste Rodin.
The vibes have been very good about this horse all through the spring and they have been backed up by Ryan Moore choosing to ride him rather than Little Big Bear.
Watching him last year, I thought Auguste Rodin looked like a proper horse. He gets the mile really well, which is not something you can say about all the horses running in the 2,000 Guineas, and he’s versatile ground-wise. That said, I think the better the ground the better it is for him. I think he’s definitely the one to beat and could prove to be one of the horses of this Flat season.
Of the others, you would have to be concerned about Little Big Bear staying the trip as he looked very fast last season, Chaldean had a far from ideal prep when unseating Frankie Dettori at Newbury, and there are question marks over Sakheer’s stamina too.
While I think Auguste Rodin is the class act in the 2,000 Guineas, the 1,000 Guineas on Sunday looks much more open to me.
It’s good to see Tahiyra running as she showed a lot of ability in her two runs last year. She’s clearly a very talented filly and I think she had Meditate held on form; I can’t see Meditate turning that around on Sunday.
Of the horses who had run, I thought both trial winners were eyecatching in their own way. Mammas Girl is unbeaten at Newmarket and it was impressive how she came off the pace when winning the Nell Gwyn Stakes. Quite what she achieved in winning is hard to evaluate, but you couldn’t help but be impressed with what she did and it wouldn’t surprise me to see her run another good race.
Remarquee was also good in the Fred Darling Stakes and I thought she hit the line really strongly at Newbury. You would think the extra distance in the Guineas would suit her ideally.
1.20 Goodwood – Quantum Impact
He’s a nice, improving horse and one I’m looking forward to getting back on. He won on good ground and on heavy ground when I rode him last year, so we know he’s versatile in that respect. When I rode him to win at Newbury he struck me as a horse who would improve from two to three and for going up in trip, which is what he is doing today. It’s a tight race but I think he’s on a competitive handicap mark and I do like him.
1.55 Goodwood – Zellie
A filly with strong form having won a Group 1 as a two-year-old and been fourth in the 1,000 Guineas last year. I had a sit on her on Thursday morning and she felt in good form and ready to go. Some of the fillies are still just getting there with their coats after a cold spring, but I thought she looked well in herself and more than ready to run her race. If the ground comes up on the slow side, as expected, then that will aid her chances even more.
2.30 Goodwood – Rajindi
Both of her runs at two were good efforts and you have to come into a race like this thinking she has a good chance of performing well again. I thought it was a really promising run first time and then she finished her race off well over 7f the next time. I think the step up in trip will help her and this looks a winnable race to me, so hopefully she can put in a good performance.
1.50 Newmarket – Hallic
I was very pleased with him when I rode him last time at Lingfield. You never want to come second in a race, but from a bad draw we were able to get a good pitch the whole way around and he gave his all. I thought I was going to win as we turned in, but we just got caught in the final furlong. He was giving plenty of weight to the winner, so I think you have to mark his effort up even more. He’s proven to be a really good buy from his trainer Robert Eddery and I think the horse has improved again since Lingfield. He looks a million dollars in his coat and he went well when we galloped him on the grass recently, so I can’t see that being an issue. It looks a competitive race but I’d like to think he can be involved.
4.50 Newmarket – Legend Of Leros
It was a good performance from him at Kempton last time when he finished behind the King’s horse, Slipofthepen. It was a small field and there was no pace, so we ended up in front making the running which wasn’t ideal. He’s a lovely, big horse – a real looker – and we knew before that run at Kempton he was going to come on plenty for it. I think he’s on a competitive handicap mark and should be a good bit fitter than he was when he raced last time.