AFTER a superb week last week at Sandown, Graeme Johnston (@GraemeJ_83) is back to look at the 2000 Guineas.
15:05 Newmarket | Channel 4
This race sees the return of Telescope and if you look at the betting for the race he’s expected to make a winning return. His win in the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot last season was one of the most impressive of the season but I’m not sure if he’s the one for me.
Telescope is one of my favourite horses in training and I’m amazed he has yet to taste success at the highest level. He’s the type of older horse that Sir Michael Stoute excels with and there is still time for him to put that right. He will obviously have bigger targets during the season so is he vulnerable tomorrow?
He lost on his seasonal debut last season, to Noble Mission whom he also lost to second time out as well. Now Noble Mission is no mug, a full brother to Frankel, he went on to win a Group 1 last season, but Telescope finished nine lengths behind him on their first meeting. This tells me that he will improve throughout the season again and I’m prepared to take him on here.
There are certain things you shouldn’t really do as a punter, and one of them is back a horse to give weight to a rival that he is rated lower than. But this is one time I’m prepared to do it. Pethers Moon ran a great race on his return at Newbury and that race fitness gives him a massive advantage here.
To me he falls short of being a Group 1 horse (certainly in the UK) but he is a solid Group 2/3 horse. If he didn’t have to concede weight here I would make him a certainty. If these two ever cross swords later in the season then my opinion will change dramatically, but I see this as an opportunity for Pethers Moon to notch a victory over Telescope and is good value at 3/1 with Bet365.
15:45 Newmarket | Channel 4
The first Classic of the season is upon us and its a real puzzle! Its a race that everyone can bet on, as for every short price winner there is always something that runs into the places at a big price, or even win. Looking through the field I’ve decided to go down that route and find a couple of big prices vs the field.
Gleneagles will start as favourite tomorrow and I think that’s fair. He was available at 10/1 in March and its no surprise to see him much shorter now. He’s probably achieved more than anything else in the field but I can’t be having him at 3/1 first time out to beat 18 rivals.
I look at the rest of the field and nothing stands out to me. Nothing is unbeaten, nothing won last time out emphatically (bar a maiden), nothing is stopping me from sleeping tonight out of excitement to see them race.
I’ve decided to back two each way at bigger prices that I hope can run massive races. Celestial Path ran three times last season winning twice. He won a Haydock Listed race over a mile decisively before coming third in the Racing Post Trophy behind Elm Park. This doesn’t scream out Classic winning form but I can see reasons for backing him.
In a race where the majority of the favourites have stamina question marks, we have no such issues with our selection. His trainer, Sir Mark Prescott doesn’t run many horses in Classics so the fact he has aimed Celestial Path at this is interesting in itself.
As long as he can hold his place early on I fully expect him to be running on when others have cried enough and with many firms offering four places with each way bets I could see him rewarding us with a place.
Dutch Connection is another one in the race that interests me. He was backwards early on last season and took three races to win his maiden, but after that he improved dramatically.
He won the Acomb Stakes at York next before going to Ireland coming third behind favourite Gleneagles in the Vincent O’Brien. That was a messy race where he took an age to settle, ran freely in front, yet ran a solid race going down by under three lengths.
He’s a horse (like the majority of the field) with massive potential and I think the big field and likely fast pace will help him to fulfil it. He won twice over seven furlongs last season doing his best work at the finish and I fully expect him to run a massive race. These are my two who represent the best value to me and I plan to back them both each way and I’ll be very disappointed if neither place.
15:05 Newmarket – Pethers Moon to win (3/1 Bet365)
15:45 Newmarket – Celestial Path each way (22/1 BetVictor)
15:45 Newmarket – Dutch Connection each way (22/1 Sportingbet)