With nine wins in the 2,000 Guineas since 1998, Aidan O’Brien is without doubt the king of the mile colts’ classic and in favourite Ten Sovereigns and Magna Grecia he would seem to have a tight hold once again on the opening Classic of the season.
If the former sees out the mile Classic at (3.35pm) then he wins. If he doesn’t then the ‘second string’ is sure to be staying on like a Trojan up the final climb to take advantage.
However, both represent no value whatsoever in the market place and I am really sweet on the claims of ROYAL MARINE at 10/1 with Paddy Power.
His juvenile form looks as solid as a rock with a neck success over subsequent Ballysax winner Broome in the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardare his peak performance.
The son of Raven’s Pass returned to action with a highly satisfactory running on fourth in the Craven Stakes which I have upgraded by 4lbs as he pulled like a train early on and then didn’t get the best of runs through the final quarter mile.
He looks a strong stayer at the mile trip and any of the forecast rain to take the sting out of the ground will definitely be in his favour.
MILDENBERGER had a light campaign as a three-year-old, his last effort being a fine second in the Dante Stakes at York.
His comeback run at Epsom can be safely consigned to the dust bin as he fell out of the stalls in the City and Suburban. The extra two furlongs of the Jockey Club Stakes (2.55pm) looks absolutely perfect for him and he has any amount of improvement in him against some fully exposed rivals.
VINTAGER was sent off a solid 9/2 joint favourite for the Group Three Earl of Sefton Stakes over course and distance a fortnight ago, but just did too much, too soon, that day. A mark of 110 is a big ask in the opener at 1.50pm, but on his best form he is fully entitled to carry his welter weight to victory and I fancy him to see off the likely favourite Power of Darkness.
The Palace House Stakes (2.20) is always a hotly contested Group Three sprint and with Equilateral having disappointed of late this season, the nod goes to the Roger Varian trained QUEEN OF DESIRE who looks seriously on the upgrade after winning nicely on her comeback run at Bath and looks sure to improve for her first run at six furlongs.
However, the best bet on the card could come in the three-year-old finale, a 1m handicap over 5.20pm. This event is set to be run at a real rush with no less than eight of the 10 entries either front runners or pressers and that should suit hold-up merchant POGO down to the ground.
He returned to action at Newcastle last month and ran as if he just needed the outing, but has amazingly been dropped 3lbs and that will do nicely for me.
The Thirsk Hunt Cup at 4.15pm looks well worth a second look and rank outsider NICHOLAS T could easily spring a surprise. A fast run, sharp mile looks right up his street and he gets the each-way vote over Borodin and Fennaan.
*Odds correct at time of publishing