After an informative Craven Meeting, Tony Calvin returns with a look ahead to the Guineas and a fancy at Punchestown for this week...
"Masar could be hard to kick out of the frame, even if he will face a very different test in the Classic to the one that unfolded in the Craven, and he certainly appeals more than Elarqam at a similar price."
Altyn is just what the doctor Orda'd for Guineas
The Classic trials last week were more than a touch inconclusive, but one that continues to catch my eye is Alytn Orda at 36.035/1 in the 1000 Guineas.
Now, the first thing to say is that I have no idea if she is an intended runner, so I am not putting her up as a bet here. However, I thought she shaped really well when second in the Nell Gwyn last week, and her trainer Roger Varian seemed to be inclined to run her in the 1000 in the immediate aftermath of the race.
Plans change obviously, especially when the owner was yet to be consulted, but surely the more Varian looks at the Classic the more tempted he must be to throw her hat into the ring.
Veracious is the latest withdrawal from the race this morning due to a "training setback" and winter ante-post favourite Clemmie is considered a highly unlikely starter after problems of her own.
Nobody would have been scared by Dan's Dream win in the Fred Darling at Newbury on Saturday, and the whole contest simply has a very winnable look to it, which is why it is 4/1+ the field on the exchange, I guess.
Aidan O'Brien still holds a very strong hand with Happily and September, but we have not seen that pair this season and there are no certainly no Minding - in fact, I'm told they think a fair bit of Leopardstown 1000 Guineas Trial third, I Can Fly, and she could be a big mover from 14/1+ - and on form they would have little in hand of the perhaps under-rated Fillies' Mile winner Laurens (who beat an admittedly unlucky September there).
Winning Group 1 form is also possibly represented by Godolphin's Boussac winner Wild Iliusion, but none of those I have mentioned scared me too much and, if given the green light, I think Altyn Orda could reverse Nell Gwyn form with Soliloquy and run a massive race in the big one.
Charlie Appleby's horse beat my fancy fair and square last week, but his horses were flying at this meeting, and I think the Varian filly has the greater potential and scope for improvement.
The powerful Soliloquy dominates the Lanwades Stud Nell Gwyn Stakes at Newmarket. Godolphin's filly is not in the 1000 Guineas but could yet be supplemented? Racing UK (@Racing_UK) April 18, 2018
Results https://t.co/7iJOPsvjqx pic.twitter.com/BhdGcI1U9i
It certainly appeared that the extra furlong of the 1000 Guineas will suit her, on run-style as well as pedigree, so I will be waiting on news being confirmed for the race being getting stuck in.
Masar hard to kick out of the frame
I wasn't as downhearted as some by Expert Eye's second to James Garfield in the Greenham. The run will probably bring him on a lot, and the extra furlong and possible better ground could see him in a much sharper light in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket on May 5th.
Again, I don't know if connections will be tempted to give him more time and look further ahead with a horse who can be too hot and headstrong for his own good, but the general 16/1 is probably an over-reaction.
Sure, he didn't look like a Guineas winner at Newbury, but take a look at that Classic, and there doesn't seem to be a lot of strength in depth in the race. The vibes around 11/4 chance Gustav Klimt seem very positive - his stablemate Saxon Warrior, possibly more of a Derby type, less so - and, outside of the ninw length Craven winner Masar, I am struggling to get excited.
Masar could be hard to kick out of the frame, even if he will face a very different test in the Classic to the one that unfolded in the Craven, and he certainly appeals more than Elarqam at a similar price.
Masar sets down a marker for the Qipco 2000 Guineas with a nine-length destruction job of his rivals in the Bet365 Craven Stakes #RUKMomentOfTheDay? Racing UK (@Racing_UK) April 19, 2018
Watch all the finishes from today for free in our results and replay section >>> https://t.co/7iJOPsvjqx pic.twitter.com/5fnT8bsJVW
It is currently 17.016/1 bar four on the exchange - with Roaring Lion out to 34.033/1 after his Craven eclipse - and it will be fascinating to see how the market develops in the next fortnight.
Expert Eye, with that Goodwood win last season still fresh in my mind at least, could be the interesting one, although Sir Michael Stoute (who netted his first winner of 2018 at Thirsk on Saturday night, and whose horses are just coming right) may just run out of time with him. He often pays the patience game if in any doubt.
Take Getabird on with Paloma
Punchestown will dominate most people's thoughts early on this week, and the race that immediately catches my eye is the Champion Novice Hurdle on Tuesday, where Getabird is confronted by Mengli Khan, Paloma Blue and Sharjah (first-time tongue-tie) to name just three in what looks a superb contest.
I wouldn't be in a rush to back Getabird at the general 10/11 - in fact, I am up to lay him at evens, as I write - and I was very taken, once again, by Paloma Blue in the Supreme. I did my money on him there at 16/1, but I was very impressed by the fact that he was coming back for more at the end after running far too free early-doors.
Summerville Boy gets up close home to win the Supreme Novices' Hurdle @CheltenhamRaces and gains his second Grade One success. #TheFestival? Racing UK (@Racing_UK) March 13, 2018
New Betfair customers get up to £100 in free bets: https://t.co/M5sVHe3vhU (T&Cs apply) pic.twitter.com/aIhmeiLHWb
I thought he would drop away up the straight, but for him to do so much wrong and still be beaten just three lengths, is testament to his ability. If the ground stays yielding - and showers are forecast - and he can settle better (big if that, granted), then he may be on my each-way radar at around 5/1 tomorrow, as well as a lay of the favourite. In terms of our raw talent, I think he is the best in the field.
We also have some excellent Sandown racing on Friday and Saturday - Altior is expected to line up at the weekend- and I will be tipping on both cards here as the ITV cameras will be attendance.
I'll leave those cards alone until then, though. Good luck.