Very pleased with how yesterday went, so it’s been a good start to the month. Goldream ran a big a race to finish 3rd at 20/1 (small R4), but I’m delighted with Churchill. All I saw and heard all day was negative after negative about him. I was very boisterous about him on here so could have ended up with my pants down, but thankfully all went to plan. Doubt Aidan O’Brien at your peril. Son Of The Stars could have made it a great day, but somehow got beat in the last by a head. I’m in no doubt he was the best horse in that race. Anyway, hopefully we can have another good day with 2 at HQ.
1.50 – Qatar Racing Handicap – 1m 4f
Big Country of course deserves to he fav after his romp at Kempton last time and even his 10lb rise looks slightly lenient. The 2nd that day, Wild Hacked, has come out and won a good pot since so there’s a good case to he made for him, but I like the chances of Frontiersman for Charlie Appleby. He made a mockery of his mark of 90 when winning here in September, scoring by 4 1/2 lengths, so we know he at least handles the track. His comeback run in a conditions race at Doncaster was a big eye catcher. On the face of it, being beat 5 1/4 lengths is hardly a good effort, but he and Muntahaa slit each other’s throats a long way from home and left themselves with absolutely no chance. He only finished around 1 1/2 lengths behind Muntahaa, who has since boosted that form by winning the John Porter a couple of weeks ago, and is now rated 113. With Frontiersman only rated 101 and having only had the 6 runs, I think he’s got 6-7lb in hand off that mark and I think he’s a cracking EW bet.
Selection: Frontiersman 6/1 EW (Stan James)
3.35 – QIPCO 1000 Guineas Stakes (Group 1) – 1m
This looks a little more open than the 2000, but not a whole lot. Rhododendron is clearly the standout, and has the best form in the race by a fair way on account of her Fillies’ Mile win here in October. She comes into this with similar credentials to Churchill did in the colts’ equivalent; no prep run and clear superior form after a win here at the back end of last season. I wonder why those who doubted Churchill for having not had a prep have suddenly gone quiet? The market has not missed that though, and after Churchill’s win she has shortened into 6/4. Now given her credentials are almost ideal to Churchill’s, and that she arguably has more in hand on form than he did, you could argue that 6/4 is value. And I’d tend to agree. But I put up a 24/1 treble of Seventh Heaven, Churchill and Rhododendron on Wednesday night, so I might as well back something else here. I don’t think Hydrangea will be too far away, but I can’t see how she can beat Rhododendron in this. Whilst Winter has been heavily backed, and will run well, I’d be surprised if she’s better than Rhododendron. I do like Daban, but I don’t think the Nell Gwyn was all that good. It’d obviously be some story if Fair Eva provided Frankel with his first Classic winner, but that won’t be happening here. Talaayeb looks a lovely prospect, but she’d have to be exceptional to win this having only ran the once. So I ended up with Intricately. Now her form ties in with that of Rhododendron and Hydrangea, having beaten the pair of them in the Moyglare. Rhododendron wasn’t at her best that day, but that’s still a very good piece of form. She was poor at the Breeders Cup, but that can easily be forgiven. Plenty over the years haven’t enjoyed the trip over the Atlantic, and plenty more will be the same in the future. Her comeback in the trial Hydrangea won (Winter 2nd) was a really nice reappearance. She was nowhere near fully fit there, wasn’t knocked about at all by Donnacha, carried a 3lb penalty for her Moyglare win and was still only beaten around 2 lengths into 4th. The form of that is good too, with Rehana having pissed up in a Group 3 on Monday. So whilst I think Rhododendron will more than likely win, I think Intricately is most certainly the EW play, having beaten her last year. I’ll probably also have a small combo tricast on the 4 O’Brien horses (Rhododendron, Hydrangea, Winter and Intricately) for a bit of fun.
Selection: Intricately 14/1 EW (Bet365)