IT’S ONE EL OF A BET!
Mark Johnston’s colt can take the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket on May 5 says John Anthony
ELARQAM created a good impression by winning his two starts as a juvenile and he has strong claims in the opening Classic of the season.
He got the job done efficiently in a York maiden in September before coming back 18 days later to take the Group 3 Tattersall Stakes at Newmarket with plenty left to give. He picked up well there and charged through the line over 7f.
The impression is that this mile will suit better and there will be a lot of improvement to come from Mark Johnston’s colt. He may go straight to Newmarket without a prep run but that wouldn’t be a concern.
At the time of writing, there is plenty of 7/1 available and that looks a fair price.
The Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster looks another key piece of form for the 2,000. That saw a good battle between winner Saxon Warrior and neck second Roaring Lion, who was probably put in front a little too soon by Oisin Murphy.
He gave Saxon Warrior a target to aim at and he got there in the dying strides. There won’t be a lot between them again but it there’s no reason why Roaring Lion would turn the form around even if he times his challenge fractionally better.
On breeding, he would probably want further than this mile already, although you would expect him to run well in the Guineas. He could be more of a Derby horse. Similar comments apply to Saxon Warrior given that he’s from the Galileo line. Both may have to settle for minor honours today with Epsom in mind.
Expert Eye was amiss in the Dewhurst so forget that closing run of the season. Sir Michael Stoute’s colt was highly impressive when winning the Group 2 Vintage Stakes at Goodwood in August. He wasn’t stopping over the 7f trip there and looks ideal for this mile. At around 10/1 he’s got an each-way chance.
Wootton’s form is not easy to assess but he battled well to win a Longchamp Group 3 in mid-April so will be match fit at least. He made all there and kept bringing out more when it was needed. The performance looked a little short of Classic standard though.
Gustav Klimt heads the betting and has been backed following his easy win in the Leopardstown 2,000 Guineas trial in April. He didn’t beat an awful lot there but it was a facile win and you can understand why he’s the favourite.
You would expect a fair amount of improvement for that comeback run but he’s another who maybe screams Derby more than Guineas.
Since ante-post favourite Clemmie had a late setback, the 1,000 Guineas has a
more open look about it.
That thrust fellow Aidan O’Brien filly Happily into the limelight but she had a lot of racing as a juvenile for a Classic winner. Mind you, her form is solid enough with Group 1 wins at The Curragh and Chantilly. Her copybook was blotted somewhat with a poor run in the Breeders’ Cup juvenile but she had no chance after missing the kick on the tight Del Mar track. Those races could leave their mark which makes you wary of taking a short price about her chances at Newmarket.
In what looks an open race, we’ll take an each-way punt on Roger Charlton’s GAVOTA. She is 33/1 at the time of writing but she didn’t do a lot wrong last season.
She had an entry in the Fred Darling Stakes at Newbury while the ink was drying on this magazine and that will tell us a lot more about her prospects if she runs.
Last season saw her win a couple of minor contests with ease before tackling Group races and holding her own well.
She was third in the Rockfel Stakes and then beaten in a bobbing finish for the Oh So Sharp, both on the Rowley Mile. Those races are both over 7f and she shapes as though stepping up to a mile will bring out the best in her.
Wild Illusion is another to consider. She won two of her three races last season, finishing with a Group 1 success in the Marcel Boussac at Chantilly in October. That looks like good form and, although she will want further in time, she should have enough pace to hold her position in the Guineas.
There was some cut in the ground that day but her maiden win came on a fast surface which she handled well.
Charlie Appleby is likely to get plenty of improvement out of her this season and offers of around 10/1 look fair enough.