Newmarket Guineas Preview: The Irish angle on this weekend's Classics

Aidan O'Brien holds the key to this weekend's Guineas races
Aidan O'Brien holds the key to this weekend's Guineas races

Regular Irish racing columnist Tony Keenan gives his thoughts on this weekend's two Classics, and he believes a pair of Aidan O'Brien runners are worth considering at double-figure prices...

"Whether War Command has played himself onto the team or Australia has yet to really sparkle is unclear but either way the supposed second string looks the value here."

Betting markets come in different guises and similar races, such as the 2,000 and 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket this weekend, can be shaped in divergent ways.

Potential dominates the betting for the first classic with a pair of horses without a win outside Group 3 company taking up 65% of the market, whereas in the fillies' races the winners of races like the Moyglare, Cheveley Park and Lowther are all among the favourites.

Kingman and Australia are the horses in question in the 2,000 Guineas and in truth there's more to their claims than mere Group 3 wins.

The former produced a dominant effort in the Greenham, impressing with his turn-of-foot, and there can be little doubt about his ability; a concern might be his ability to reproduce that run - the bounce factor comes into play as it came off a long break - but it's all about price with him as he looks pretty short at around 2.47/5.

Australia's lofty position is a by-product of his trainer's high opinion of him and his ready defeat of then-Derby favourite Free Eagle at Leopardstown last September. That form leaves him with improvement to find however and it has to be a concern for his supporters the original plan that he be the sole Ballydoyle runner in this race has changed and War Command is now an intended runner.

Whether War Command has played himself onto the team or Australia has yet to really sparkle is unclear but either way the supposed second string looks the value here.

One of the best juveniles around last year, he is missed by the market at around 12.011/1; this is perhaps a result of his rather underwhelming season after a brilliant win in the Coventry. Of course, that all depends on your definition of underwhelming as he won a Futurity and a Dewhurst afterwards so the form is there and I suspect he has a big performance in him on fast ground (Newmarket are currently watering), something he hasn't had since his early two-year-old days.

Kingston Hill (14.013/1) and Toormore are other Group 1 winners in the field but the first-named is unlikely to have the toe for this relative speed test and his Racing Post Trophy win has not worked out.

Toormore (9.617/2) is more appealing and worth keeping on side. He holds a number of the opposition on form and was last year's champion juvenile and while his reappearance didn't please everyone, he was forced to race quite early that day, never looked like getting beaten and strikes as a horse that will improve for the run.

Last year's top juvenile fillies were an uninspiring crop and the fact that Rizeena (4.77/2) who won just half of her eight starts at two heads the betting for the 1,000 Guineas suggests that this is ripe for an improver.

Tapestry and Kiyoshi tie in with the favourite and are similarly unappealing while Miss France dirtied her bib on return and Lucky Kristale has to prove her stamina.

My Titania has scope to improve but she's priced at 12.5 as if proven at the top level; her form is weak and John Oxx, perhaps through no great fault of his own, is not the force he was when her sire Sea The Stars won this race in 2009 for the same owner.

Bracelet on the other hand makes plenty of appeal. Her reappearance win was striking and came at a time when her stable were struggling; not only that but she has more scope to improve than most as she hadn't run since the previous June.

She did well to come from near last off a slow pace and the form looks solid; she beat a well-backed Balansiya from the Weld yard that has a strong hand with three-year-old fillies with Avenue Gabriel, a yardstick filly from the previous year, back in third. At around 15.014/1, she looks well overpriced.

Recommended Bets

Back War Command and Toormore in the 2,000 Guineas
Back Bracelet in the 1,000 Guineas

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