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Richard Hoiles: My preview of the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket

03 May | BY Richard Hoiles | MIN READ TIME |
Richard Hoiles: My preview of the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket

The horse racing broadcaster assess Saturday's big race, the rest of the action and provides a stable tracker update.

The Flat season ratchets up a notch at Newmarket on Saturday with a strong looking renewal of the first Classic of the season, the 2000 Guineas. It features the much-anticipated return of City of Troy, who made such a big impression as a two-year-old, ending the season with a devastating display in the Dewhurst. That form was franked in the Craven by Haatem, who was only fifth that day and beaten nearly nine lengths.

City of Troy is a short-priced favourite and there will be plenty looking to try and find cracks in his armour, but in truth there are no obvious issues other than the question that affects all good two-year-olds, namely whether they can show the same brilliance at three. One of the features of City of Troy’s juvenile wins was how strong he was at the finish – seemingly able to maintain a prolonged burst of speed, which tends to be the hallmark of potentially great horses. Already relatively well established in the public consciousness after his juvenile exploits, a dominant victory in the Guineas would really set the season alight.

Connections of his chief market rival Rosallion will also have been pleased by the result of the Craven. Haatem is both a stable and work companion to Rosallion who reportedly usually wins their gallops with consumate ease. He did, however, fluff his lines in the Champagne at Doncaster, where he pulled too hard in a steadily run race, but got his career very much on track when winning the Group 1 Jean-Luc Lagerdere on Arc day.

The pair of them set a very high bar for the likes of Notable Speech and Night Raider, who both come here with unbeaten records gained on the All Weather. Neither saw a racecourse before December of last year and the concern is whether this big step up in the quality of opposition will prove beyond them.

Haatem himself has each-way credentials, having proved his wellbeing with that Craven win. It is easy to assume, given the amount of racing he had as a juvenile, that he would be fully exposed at three but that return victory suggests otherwise, though it is clearly stretching things to expect him to be able to beat the front pair in the market.

The race seems to lack a plausible betting angle and just looks one to savour in terms of quality and the potential to set up the season ahead.

SATURDAY SELECTIONS

Those of more interest from a betting perspective start with ORCHID BLOOM (14:05 Goodwood) who improved steadily last season, making the frame in two similar Listed contests at the back end. Both her victories have come on soft ground and she should be able to make her mark in Pattern company this season.

MAJESTIC / (14:20 Newmarket) is really well suited by the 9f straight course, having won the 2022 Cambridgeshire and finished fourth in the same race last year. He showed up well on his seasonal return in April under today’s rider David Probert, and the stable of Jack Channon is in good form.

Ryan Moore will need to be at his artistic best in the Group 3 Palace House Stakes aboard TWILIGHT CALLS / (14:55 Newmarket), who needs producing late. The likely fast pace set by Tees Spirit should set things up nicely, as long as the race does not break apart and Ryan can find the right horse to follow and take him a long way. He has placed in Group 1 company and has the class to prevail here if the cards fall right.

SUMO SAM (15:20 Goodwood) is an absolute mudlark and so conditions at Goodwood look right up her street. She has to give weight away, having won twice in Group 2 company last season, but her attritional run style on heavy ground is a massive asset and it will be a surprise if she can’t run them into the ground here.

STABLE TRACKER

Two horses in action on Saturday, starting with old boy SUMMERGHAND / (13:45 Newmarket), who will be making his 94th career start but both his runs this year have shown he may well be capable of adding to his incredible 17 wins. He rather lost his way towards the end of last season but as a result has dropped to a very handy mark of 95. He met trouble in his last two runs at Newcastle and last time at Newmarket, where a tailwind made it difficult to execute his come-from-behind tactics. He will always need a little bit of luck, but still has the ability to make his presence felt.

YOUTHFUL KING / (16:10 Newmarket) did well to make as much ground as he did in the falsely run Rosebery last time, where the steady pace heavily favoured those ridden close to the pace. Previously a frontrunner, he has been ridden with more restraint on his last two starts and is reunited with Aidan Keeley, who has won and been second on his only two previous rides on the horse.

In regards to the tracker overall, there were three runners – Sweet Fantasy who was second at 13/2, Danielle who won at 4/7 and Chorus who was third at 7/2. The last two are retained but Sweet Fantasy is released as she probably needs soft ground and is due a break. Also released are Bertie’s Ballet, who ran third for us on Scottish National day at 12/1, but again is likely to now be given a break.

Additions are EXPERT WITNESS, who did well to finish as close as she did at Bath last time, coming from last in a steadily run race behind a progressive winner, and MASTER BUILDER, who was second on debut at Windsor on Monday. He is trained by David Menuisier, who is 1/60 with debutant three-year-olds, so the fact he could run so well in second seems to suggest he has a fair amount of ability.

Retained: Danielle, Chorus
Released: Sweet Fantasy, Bertie’s Ballet
Added: Expert Witness, Master Builder

JOCKEYS FOR COURSES

Several jockeys in action this week at tracks where they have a particularly good career record.

HEXHAM – Charlotte Jones (11/30, A/E 2.47). She has just the one mount on Hexham regular Cudgel in the 17:00 for the course chairman.

NEWMARKET ROWLEY MILE – William Buick (196/986, A/E 1.19). Seven rides on the day, including Notable Speech in the 2000 Guineas.

UTTOXETER – Harry Skelton (113/ 381, A/E 1.27). Valgrand in the 16:00 looks to be an interesting early novice hurdler for the new season.

YARMOUTH – Jack Mitchell (59/349, A/E 1.32). Moakkad looks an interesting newcomer in the 19:00, having cost over £200k as a yearling.

COLUMN PERFORMANCE 2024

Actual Wins/Expected Wins to give A/E Ratio, where Par is 1.00.

Stable Tracker: 8/9.19 (A/E 0.87)

Daily Selections: 19/18.05 (A/E 1.05)

Jockeys For Courses 19/19.00 (A/E 1.00)

Overall Performance: 46/46.24 (A/E 0.99).

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Richard Hoiles

Richard Hoiles

Richard is a horse racing broadcaster and commentator who has been involved in the sport since 1992.

Richard Hoiles

Richard Hoiles

Richard is a horse racing broadcaster and commentator who has been involved in the sport since 1992.