Newmarket Guineas Preview: Elm Park to Wow them

Racing Post Trophy winner Elm Park can take the 2,000 Guineas says Tony Keenan
Racing Post Trophy winner Elm Park can take the 2,000 Guineas says Tony Keenan

Gleneagles is too short for the 2,000 Guineas in Tony Keenan's eyes and he takes two to oppose him in the first Classic of the season on Saturday...


"Jim Bolger has an excellent record in this race, his runners in the last decade finishing:7136236 and while ostensibly those figures appear good rather better, only one of those fillies was priced shorter than 12/1 so they’ve clearly been outrunning their odds."

Back Lucida @ 7.06/1 for the 1,000 Guineas

Seventeenth. That's where Gleneagles rated among Timeform's top juveniles of 2014 - they didn't even give him a p - and now punters are being asked to take circa 3.55/2 if they want to back him for the 2,000 Guineas on Saturday.

Even allowing his being an idler who may never put up a big figure, that sort of price makes no appeal. The mile is also a concern with Gleneagles. He looked fast last year when most all of his races were run to suit, generally being slow pace/small field events that emphasised speed.

Backers of the favourite should probably hold fire with their bets until the day of the race; he's the clear headline horse on Saturday (Annie Power at Punchestown excepted!) and will likely drift. They might also want to give Territories a second look as he is closely matched with Gleneagles on the Lagadere form when not getting a clear run.

The French raider has the benefit of an impressive run this season yet is thrice the price of the favourite and rates the clear pick of the shorter ones with Ryan Moore having the right of it with Estidhkaar, calling him a Group 2 horse before the Greenham.

The likes of Highland Reel, Mahaarar and Make Believe are interesting but the exchange market suggests they are unlikely to run and I prefer the claims of the class two-year-olds Elm Park and The Wow Signal. With Timeform ratings of 117p and 118 respectively, both were rated higher than Gleneagles on 113.

Elm Park is probably a better horse on softer ground - he went through the Racing Post Trophy particularly well when getting an ease - but fast ground is no sure thing here with bits of rain forecast and he has some of the best form on offer.

You have to go back further to give The Wow Signal a chance but his Morny win in August is strong form with Hootenanny and Ervedya in behind and Frankie Dettori picking the other Al Shaqab runner means you're getting a very big price for him coming back to his best.

My way into the 1,000 Guineas is simple: back an Irish filly. Our juvenile fillies won the May Hill, Rockfel, Fillies' Mile and Marcel Boussac in 2014 and while Cursory Glance won the Moyglare, she was perhaps fortune to do so and in any case is out of action until Royal Ascot.

The pair I really wanted to back were Agnes Stewart and Raydara, both from yards that tend to be underrated in Group 1 races, but neither has made the race so it's back to the drawing board. Keep them in mind for later on though.

Found is short enough for a filly that has had an interrupted preparation and looks one that will come into her own over further; it's unlikely Aidan O'Brien would compromise her season by rushing her for this and she should improve as the year goes on. Her stablemate Together Forever won a messy Fillies' Mile and I prefer one that finished down the field that day, Lucida.

In truth, she's a little shorter than I'd like at around 7.06/1 but she rates the most likely winner and carries strong stable confidence. Jim Bolger has an excellent record in this race, his runners in the last decade finishing:7136236 and while ostensibly those figures appear good rather better, only one of those fillies was priced shorter than 12/1 so they've clearly been outrunning their odds.

Lucida has experience of the track having won the Rockfel last year and has excuses from the Fillies' Mile (the ground was too soft and she was having her fifth run in little over two months). She looks sure to go well though it wouldn't be the greatest surprise if Legatissimo repeated her win at Gowran last Sunday. In a race that lacks depth - only 15 fillies declared - connections might well chance running her back quickly.


Recommended Bets

Back Elm Park @ 14.5 for the 2,000 Guineas
Back The Wow Signal @ 32.031/1 for the 2,000 Guineas

Back Lucida @ 7.06/1 for the 1,000 Guineas


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