This race has cut up a bit but it still looks a strong handicap – Next Stage and Ballet Concerto look the obvious dangers – but my horse looks to have a good chance. I have ridden him once, but that was on only his second start when he was still learning his trade, and he has progressed well since and ran a very good race on his comeback. It looked like he was going to win well for a lot of that race at Newbury, travelling powerfully and quickening to win his race, but he just got collared close home by an unbeaten and progressive horse. He has gone up 3lb, but hopefully he can still be competitive off his mark and the step back down to 1m1f may suit him, too.
Only one horse came out of this race at the overnight stage, so this 16-runner Palace House is obviously fiercely competitive. You normally want to be drawn high here but I’m in nine and that gives me options and there looks plenty of pace in here. Cotai Glory is a high-class sprinter on his day – as he showed when just touched off by Profitable in the King’s Stand – and Charlie seems very happy with him, but he has picked up a 3lb penalty for his Group 3 win at Newbury last September and this is his first run of the season. And he did look to need his run in this race last season on his reappearance, although he wasn’t beaten far and he did run well first time out at York the year before. He has each-way chances.
2,000 Guineas verdict
I think Churchill brings the strongest form into the Guineas. He is never going to be the sort of horse to go on and win by 8 lengths – he did win well in the National Stakes, but then again runner-up Mehmas probably didn’t stay – and those kind of horses tend to last. I was impressed by Eminent’s win in a fast time in the Craven and I think he could be Churchill’s biggest danger, especially as there are pacemakers in here and that will bring his stamina into play. You clearly have to respect Djebel winner Al Wukair and Newbury scorer Barney Roy, but I think Dream Castle could reverse Greenham form with Barney Roy if getting cover. Dream Castle did a hell of a lot of running from the 5f to furlong pole at Newbury with no cover, and I thought he did remarkably well to only be beaten 2 lengths in the circumstances. He must be a good horse. The extra 1f is an obvious question mark, but if Silvestre can get him settled in behind horses – and the first-time hood could help him there – then I can see him running a big race.
MY GUINEAS 1-2-3: Churchill, Eminent, Dream Castle
Truth Or Dare
He has joined James [Bethell] since last season and I think he has acquired a fairly handicapped horse. He is 3lb lower than when a good fourth to Aclaim at Ascot last September, just two starts ago, and I suppose it is just a matter of whether he will find things happening a bit too quickly stepping down to 7f here in what looks a decent race.
This looks a good 1m 3yo handicap, and could take plenty of winning, but Bless Him is a nice horse who won well at Chelmsford last month. I think he has the potential to rate a bit higher than 82 and he needs to be winning this if he is realistically to be aimed at races like the Britannia at the Royal Ascot.
New World Power
He is a very well-related colt who chased home Ulysses, albeit at a very respectful distance, on his debut at Newbury before running decent races in two more maidens over 1m2f. He has since joined David from Roger [Varian] and I think he has been pleasing him at home – and a mark of 81 gives him options – but clearly the main question to answer here is if he will stay this extended 1m6f. If he does – and he just got beat over 1m5f in a charity race at Cheltenham recently when ridden by Sheikh Fahad – then he should give a good account of himself, for all he meets some in-form recent winners in a fair staying handicap.
She has clearly needed plenty of time and didn’t make her 3yo debut until last September but she showed the benefit of that run when winning a 1m4f Newcastle maiden in comprehensive style. A mark of 80 is probably only fair on the bare form but she is a Duke Of Marmalade half-sister to three smart winners, notably the stable’s Oaks third Volume, so you have to be hopeful off 80. Her work would give you encouragement, too.
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