IT’S a Classic weekend on ITV with the 2000 and 1000 Guineas at Newmarket, so plenty to look forward to on the Flat. ITV also throw in a couple of decent races at Goodwood on Saturday, so let’s get straight into it and try and take a few quid off Paddy.
The first race ITV show at Newmarket on Saturday is the opener, the 1.50pm, a handicap over 1m 1f. EXEC CHEF ran an absolute shocker for Jim Boyle at Newbury last time, but I have a feeling he raced too close to the pace that day. Prior to that effort when held up at Doncaster he ran a cracker. Hopefully a good each-way chance with hold up tactics.
It’s the Group 3 Palace House Stakes over 5f at 2.20pm, and I’ll take one last chance with the Charlie Hills-trained EQUILATERAL. Basically he’s much better at home than on the track, but I thought he ran pretty well at HQ last time when fourth behind Keystroke and he definitely has a decent each-way chance at his best.
We go over 1m 4f at 2.55pm for the Group 2 Jockey Club Stakes. I’m keeping the faith here with the gelded DEFOE, who did not run up to his best at Newbury last time. It was a disappointing effort when fourth to Marmelo, but he’s better than that for Roger Varian and can bounce back.
The big one is at 3.35pm, the 2000 Guineas over a mile, and I’m hoping ROYAL MARINE will at least make the frame.
A Royal Marine is trained in the use of machine guns, mortars and anti-tank weapons, and Christophe Soumillon would have liked to set off all three with two furlongs to go in the Craven Stakes at Newmarket, the traditional 2000 Guineas trial tackled last year by both Derby hero Masar and brilliant miler Roaring Lion.
Quite simply, Soumillon’s mount, the equine Royal Marine, never had a chance to show what he could do as he was boxed in on the rail until eventually running on spendidly into fourth behind Skardu.
Of course Royal Marine had previously flopped in Dubai, finishing miles behind Walking Thunder in the 2000 Guineas Trial. But that was on dirt. Just forget the effort.
As a juvenile Royal Marine showed us all he was a quality performer in the making, scoring well at Doncaster before landing the Group 1 Jean-Luc Lagardere at Longchamp. Trainer Saeed bin Suroor has already won 194 Group 1 races, and he started this term in great style with success via Thunder Snow in the Dubai World Cup. Royal Marine has a fabulous chance of adding to the tally,
Adding the hood could be a shrewd move.
Meanwhile, over at Goodwood ITV show the Listed fillies’ stakes over nearly 1m 4f at 2.05pm. This is wide open despite a small field. On ratings, the strong stayer KLASSIQUE should take some beating. The daughter of Galileo was last seen in France over getting on for two miles, but will have no problem with this distance for William Haggas.
Finally, there’s the 2.40pm at Goodwood, a handicap over 7f. I’ll take a chance here with MANTON GRANGE, down the bottom of the handicap. Trained by George Baker, my hope has bits and bobs of decent turf form and will enjoy the good gallop.
So best of luck and pray for Yeeehaaas. I’ll be back tomorrow with 1000 Guineas news. You hear me Paddy?