We have the ITV cameras up at Haydock this Saturday but we also have the Irish 2000 Guineas to look forward to.
We kick off with the action from Haydock at 14.15 with a 2m handicap. A couple of these have been in winning form on the all weather but not so on the turf. Lucky Deal ran no sort of race in the Chester Cup, but he can be forgiven that, as so many horses that were held up, never got into the race. He ran a couple of nice races on turf before that and you can never rule out a Mark Johnston runner. Eden Rose still has to prove she is as good on turf as she is on the all weather, so I’ll go with Nakeeta at the prices.
He is classy, slipping down the weights and gets the nod.
There’s a big field for the 14.50 and the draw plays its part in races over this 1m trip. Masaru has got a terrible draw in stall 16 but the one who has gotten lucky is Loch Ness Monster in box two. He finished third to Masaru at Sandown two runs ago and Mick Appleby’s runner was also close up behind Oasis Prince over course and distance last time out.
With crack apprentice Sean Davis claiming a valuable 5lb, Loch Ness Monster can go very close here at a double-digit price in a race where Paddy’s paying 5 places.
I’ve been a fan of Calyx from when he won his first start under Rab Havlin at Newmarket. He looked the real deal then and he certainly looked the part on his reappearance at Ascot. This should be a stroll for him in the Group 2 6f sprint at 15.25 in his warm-up for the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot next month.
We sign off at Haydock with another Group 2 sprint, this time over 5f at 16.00. I’m a huge fan of Kachy and feel this could be his best chance of winning at the highest level on turf. The worry for him is these horses are some of the best in the division. Mabs Cross was brilliant last season, topping it off by winning at Longchamp in the Group 1 Prix de l’Abbaye. She does have a penalty to carry this time though.
Battash won this last year carrying a penalty and has to be the one to beat again with no penalty this time. He has had a wind operation to help him as well so my head is telling me it will be Battash – even if my heart thinks Kachy could hit the jackpot.
Over in Ireland, John Gosden’s Too Darn Hot is a welcome addition to the 2,000 Guineas at the Curragh 15.35. It’s a little bit of a surprise after his second in the Dante Stakes just nine days ago, but it adds real bite to the contest. Too Darn Hot had a hard enough race at York and that contest will throw up plenty of winners, as a few of them were inconvenienced by being too far back from the winner Telecaster, on quick ground.
John Gosden knows his horses. Punters build up a relationship with a trainer and with John Gosden, you trust his decision. He sees the horses everyday and while Too Darn Hot could just as easily wait for Royal Ascot in a couple of weeks – by running here it screams that Gosden is happy with him.
Aidan O’Brien is mob-handed again with five runners the likes of Mohawk, who is dropping back in trip having run well in the Dee Stakes at Chester, behind his stablemate Circus Maximus.
However, Magna Grecia really caught the eye with the manner of his victory in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket. I know the theories about the pace being all on their side and I do get it, but I just loved the way he went through the race.
He’ll do for me to follow up.
*Prices correct at time of publishing