Ryan Moore on the 2,000 Guineas: My views on War Command and the big race competition

War Command wins the Dewhurst under Joseph O'Brien - will the Ballydoyle horse come home first at Newmarket on Saturday?
War Command wins the Dewhurst under Joseph O'Brien - will the Ballydoyle horse come home first at Newmarket on Saturday?

Ryan rides the fourth favourite for the opening Classic of the 2014 Flat season but at around 10-1 he's no write-off as our man explains in his guide to the big race...

Ryan Moore on War Command;

"A mile should suit War Command well, he is a real good-looking course winner with solid form claims, the stable are very happy with him, the draw looks to have been pretty kind to us, and he has a big each-way chance provided the ground isn't an issue."


The are not many Coventry and Dewhurst winners that you can back at around 10-1 for the 2,000 Guineas, and I reckon my mount War Command has rock-solid claims in Saturday's Classic.
 
The only nagging doubt in my mind is how much the rain and watering this week has affected the ground, as the faster the better for War Command. And when I walked the course on Wednesday morning it already seemed genuinely good ground to me.
 
I think War Command won the Dewhurst in spite of the softened ground, but he showed a good attitude to get the job done, and generally I don't think that he got the credit he deserved last season.
 
That probably stems from the fact that because he was 20-1 for the Coventry many assumed he was a totally unfancied and unexpected winner, but he wasn't and he won the race by six lengths from a very solid Group 2 horse in Parbold. He may have lost in the Phoenix Stakes next time - and everybody loves an unbeaten profile - but he certainly put matters right on his last two starts.
  
A mile should suit him well, he is a real good-looking course winner with solid form claims, the stable are very happy with him, the draw looks to have been pretty kind to us, and he has a big each-way chance provided the ground isn't an issue.
 
I obviously know a few of these pretty well, and I rode Kingman when he won so impressively on his debut at Newmarket. And 7-4 about him is a fair price, too, although I doubt if connections would have been too chuffed to see him drawn in one.
 
I would also have concerns about him on really fast ground, especially given his injury problems at the end of last year, though perhaps he was already feeling something when his action didn't look great in the Solario.
 
And, to be honest, you can pick holes in the Greenham form, and it didn't ride like a great race, especially as we just cantered for the first 2 1/2f.
 
But I very much doubt that it will be fast ground on Saturday and the manner in which he blew by me on Night Of Thunder in a matter of strides at Newbury was very impressive indeed. Even given the doubts, he is a worthy favourite judged on the turn of foot he showed that day.
 
I also rode Toormore to win the Craven. Ok, it may not have taken too much winning with Be Ready not running his race, but I was more impressed by him than a lot of people it seems.
 
He was well-balanced and lengthened well out of the dip there - that proven ability shouldn't be underestimated - he is a good-moving horse with a great action, and I think the faster the better for him, too. He was last year's champion 2yo, remember, and I think that his draw next to the fence could be a big advantage for him.
 
It is just a case of whether he has the necessary class to win this. And that also applies to Richard's other two horses. Night Of Thunder is entitled to improve from Newbury and Shifting Power is tough and will definitely improve for the mile, as I needed all of the 7f to get him home in the Free Handicap here last time. But they all may just lack that top-class edge in this company.
 
Kingston Hill did everything right last year, and was very impressive in the Racing Post Trophy, but that form has obviously taken some serious knocks this season. He has only run with cut in the ground but he is another good-moving horse, so there is no reason why he won't prove at least as effective on better ground.
 
But I think that he could be a 1m2f horse, and he may find things happening a little too quickly here against some colts with a lot of speed.
 
Outstrip nailed me close home in the Juvenile Turf at Santa Anita and has an outside chance, but I suspect that he will come up a little short in this company - as he did against Toormore and War Command at two - and it is a big ask for Ertijaal to be winning this, even if he has shaped as though there is plenty more to come from him back on turf after those all-weather wins.
 
Charm Spirit and Bookrunner were only split by three short-heads when first and fourth in the Djebel. That form doesn't give them strong claims in this, but on the plus side their stables know how to win Classics, and Mikel Delzangles' Makfi won that French race before winning the Guineas at 33-1 in 2010. So perhaps we shouldn't be too hasty in writing them off.
 
As for Noozhoh Canarias, I thought it was a moderate Lagardere in which he finished second last season - I was fourth in that race on one of Aidan's and finished under 2 lengths behind him - even if the ground may have been softer than ideal for him there. But he will probably blitz out in front, and it is certainly not a negative that I am drawn right next to him in nine.
 
The unknown in the pack is Australia, though that may seem a strange thing to say about a six-length winner of a Group 3 from the very well-regarded Free Eagle and who is the 4.3100/30 second favourite here.
 
He has clearly been delighting them at home and Ballydoyle horses do tend to deliver more often than not in these circumstances, though "second string" Rock Of Gibraltar did edge out Hawk Wing in this race in 2002.
 
Australia could be special - and the reports have been very positive - but this is obviously his biggest test yet and his first start in Group 1 company, as it is for Kingman too, I suppose. It clearly wouldn't be the greatest surprise in the world were Australia to win this, though.
 
For me, Kingman is a worthy favourite and the one to beat, and War Command the best each-way alternative at 10-1, but keep an eye on the ground in the early races on Saturday. Along with the draw, that could be the key to this race, as much as ability. 

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