Havana Grey may prove too good here, getting the weight off all his rivals despite being the highest-rated in the field. But it is not always straight forward for three years olds when they go up against their elders early in the season. For that reason I will take Ornate each-way against him. He has switched from Robert Cowell to David Griffiths and has had a wind op, while he also boasts some very useful course form – he was second to Brando over 6f on his reappearance here last year, as well as bolting up in a conditions event on the July course also. He looks very likely to be the one to put it up to the favourite.
15:35 Newmarket – 2000 Guineas
The 2000 Guineas really signals the beginning of the flat season for me and I have no doubt that, come the end of this season, Saxon Warrior will be the best of these. Many think that this is just a prep run for the Derby and that he will get outpaced over this trip but he has a similar profile to Camelot who came into the Guineas unbeaten off the back of winning the Racing Post Trophy – and he also was regarded as more of a Derby type.
That didn’t prevent him from winning the Guineas en route to winning the Derby and I can envisage a similar scenario here for Saxon Warrior. He was mightily impressive on debut at the Curragh and followed up with ease in the Beresford. He showed that he had the stomach for a battle when beating Roaring Lion in the Racing Post Trophy and to my mind carries the most potential into this Guineas. I’m really excited to see him run today and I’m very hopeful that he can take this en route to winning the Derby next month.
Chagatai makes his handicap debut off a mark of 91 and I suspect that he could be very well treated off that mark. Clive Cox regularly sends his best two-year-olds to Bath on debut and Chagatai was very heavily punted on debut there, where everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. Despite meeting all that trouble in running, he still managed to show a tremendous turn of foot to get up late there and mark himself down as a very useful sprinter.
He went to the National Stakes at Sandown next where he was only beaten three lengths by Havana Grey despite clearly picking up some sort of injury which kept him off the track until last month. He reappeared at Kempton in a novice event and again was extremely strong in the market and duly delivered in fine style in a race that contained four previous winners. That run suggests to me that an opening mark of 91 could well underestimate his ability and he rates the best bet on the card for me.