Plenty to like in the opener
14:30: The Antarctic
You have to respect a few in here, notably Walbank, but I liked my horse's attitude when he won for me at Tipperary and he beat some fair sorts under a penalty at Naas last time. In fact, they were more than fair, and the third has come out and won well. I'd be pretty hopeful that he could make his presence felt here; there is a lot to like about him.
Fine performance at Navan
I liked the way he finished his race off back up to 1m5f at Navan last time, and I think his mark of 90 is fair. Perhaps it is only what you would expect given you couldn't rate that form that highly, but he is a very likeable colt and a very well-bred one too, being a brother to Snowfall and Alfred Munnings. Again, we'd be hopeful here. There seems to be a lot of upside to him.
This race is very much wide open
We had three in here at the five-day stage but we rely on History, stepping up to 1m4f for the first time. There is more speed than stamina on the dam side, but of course she is by Galileo, and we know that counts massively in her favour. She needs to improve on her 1m form, most recently in the Irish 1000 Guineas, but that looks likely. Without Emily Upjohn, this race is for grabs to a fair degree.
Kyprios can improve here
This race promises to cut up a bit with the quick ground claiming Scope, and probably Trueshan if it stays dry, but I think we would have gone into the race expecting a bold show no matter who opposed us. That said, Trueshan with any ease in the ground would be a serious rival, and of course Stradivarius is never to be underestimated, especially on his favoured surface.
Kyprios was very impressive in beating his sister Search For A Song in the Vintage Crop and he did what he should have last time - though I thought he was very impressive, all the same - and we are happy he will see out the trip, given his pedigree and run-style, though of course you never know until you try. He looks the improver in the race, from an already very solid base, so let's see how we get on.
Test will suit Thesis
I suppose you could argue that it is disappointing that he comes here as a maiden, but he has been beaten by decent sorts in the main - I rode him when he finished second to My Prospero at Newbury, and again at Lingfield afterwards - and a mark of 90 reflects those defeats to a certain degree. He is a well-bred colt, related to a Fillies' Mile winner, and I can see this test suiting him. It is obviously a hugely competitive race though.
First-time cheekpieces offer hope
Reach For The Moon is clearly the one to beat in here but hopefully Howth has place claims at the very least. He ran a couple of good races in Group 2 company last season, and we would expect him to come forward for his comeback run over 7f at Leopardstown in early April. He steps up to 1m2f for the first time here, and his pedigree gives you encouragement that it will suit. We try him in first-time cheekpieces, too.
He has the class to win
He won the Windsor Castle here as a 2yo and proved himself a very smart horse on his day last season, and I thought he shaped well enough for me on his comeback over 6f at Newmarket, his first start since August and also his first after a wind op. He got dropped 2lb for it too, and he definitely has the class to figure, even if a mark of 105 makes life tough. The step back up to 7f is probably a plus, too.