“The one group one at Royal Ascot that is just about starting to form a picture is St James’s Palace Stakes run over one mile for three-year-olds. The 2000 Guineas was a muddling race in which Churchill came out on top, so unsurprisingly he acts as the short priced favourite, but can anything in behind turn the tables?” JJ
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Anyone who follows me on Twitter will know my thoughts on the 2000 Guineas. To my eye it was a tactical masterclass form A P O’Brien from his battalion of colts.
They dictated the race completely; Lancaster Bomber led at an ordinary gallop until the cutaway, before they employed an arrow like formation protecting Ryan Moore and Churchill on the stand’s side like he was the king in an army.
Once they reached the cutaway both Spirit of Valour and Lancaster Bomber kept straight to block the majority of the field getting to Churchill’s side. In fact, when James Doyle Attempted to get over to the favourite Seamie Heffernan got more animated than at any other point in the race to make certain that didn’t happen.
I’ve heard a couple of people state not only that tactics weren’t employed, but also Churchill DIDN’T get the run of the race - crazy.
I’m not saying that Churchill wasn’t the best horse in the race either, just that from that particular 2000 Guineas we don’t know. Hopefully we will finally get a couple of questions answered come June and the St James’s Palace Stakes.
Al Wukair had absolutely no chance with that slow early pace and did extremely well to get as close as he did, but I’m not certain he’ll come here with a few French group ones being touted as more suitable.
Along with Al Wukair I thought BARNEY ROY (7/2) was one of the take-outs from that 2000 Guineas as not only was he inconvenienced by the tactics employed but he clearly hated Newmarket. Some experts predicted the dip may cause him trouble because of his extraordinary stride length, and it certainly did as he almost unshipped James Doyle when after stumbling badly.
Also, it is for that reason that in my opinion it would be madness to run him at the unusual track at Epsom and the flatter more conventional Ascot should be right up his street. Another reason not to go to the Derby is he looks an out and out miler to me and his breeding suggests the trip may stretch him.
What’s more, it looked like he was still learning in the 2000 Guineas on only his third start, showing obvious signs of keenness through the first couple of furlongs. Despite basically everything going wrong that could have gone wrong in the first classic of the season, the son of Excelebration still ran an absolute cracker to get up for second; powering through the final furlong in seriously impression fashion, and the closing sections back up that claim.
On a flat track and in a truly run race I’m hopeful the Godolphin colt can close that gap on the mighty Churchill!
BARNEY ROY @ 7/2 - BET NOW (NOW 9/4)
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