Betfred columnist Owen McMahon previews the weekend’s top-class Flat action on the Rowley Mile
While the Punchestown Festival concludes on the other side of the Irish sea, essentially bringing an end to the Jumps season, Newmarket hosts the first Classic of the Flat season – the 2000 Guineas.
At time of writing, 15 go to post – and it’s the red-hot partnership of Charlie Appleby and William Buick at the top of the market courtesy of the EVS favourite Native Trail.
The son of Oasis Dream went unbeaten as a two-year-old, winning a couple of Group 1s including the Dewhurst Stakes last October, and made what I judged to be a more than satisfactory return in the Craven Stakes over course and distance a couple of weeks ago.
He’s of course the one they all have to beat – but taking such a short price in a race as unpredictable as the Guineas, with horses improving at vastly different rates, isn’t for me.
One I do like at a bit of a price is POINT LONSDALE for Aidan O’Brien.
He also enjoyed a very successful juvenile season, landing the Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot before subsequent Group 3 and Group 2 success – culminating in a second behind Native Trail in the G1 Goffs Vincent O’Brien National Stakes at the Curragh last September.
🥊 Point & shoot – Point Lonsdale wins again
🏇 Four races
🥇 Four wins
🏆 G2 Futurity Stakes
🏆 G3 Tyros Stakes
🏆 Listed Chesham Stakes
👀 2000 Guineas favourite
🇦🇺 All class from Point Lonsdale who wins the Futurity to remain unbeaten for @Ballydoyle at the @curraghrace pic.twitter.com/okZ4qXKbJP
— Racing TV (@RacingTV) August 21, 2021
Now I know what some of you are probably thinking – he was beaten comfortably, by over three lengths, that day, so how’s he going to turn the form around here?
It’s a fair question, but as I wrote earlier, the rates at which these horses improve from two-year-olds to three-year-olds are very difficult to predict. Who’s to say Point Lonsdale won’t have wintered better, and improved past the favourite?
Also, I believe the son of Australia will absolutely love the step up to 1m on Saturday. He did all his running over 7f last season, which is at least a furlong shorter than what I believe he wants.
The great Frankie Dettori, looking for his fourth win in the race, is booked, and I think everything points to a huge run from Point Lonsdale.
O’Brien himself was recently quoted as saying there’s not much between him and 5/1 third-favourite Luxembourg, the mount of Ryan Moore, so I just can’t help but think 12/1 for Point Lonsdale is a very attractive proposition.
2000 Guineas Betting Odds
As for the fillies’ equivalent, the 1000 Guineas, I’m again taking on the favourites and opting for one at a price – and that’s Roger Varian’s AMEYNAH at 25/1.
In many ways she’s the complete opposite to my selection for the 2000 Guineas in that she only ran once as a two-year-old, in a modest Newmarket maiden over 7f where she finished runner-up, and is going into the race on the back of a prep run.
And it’s that prep run I want to focus on, as I was really taken by the performance – especially for such a big filly with so little experience.
The early signs are that the form is pretty good, with the 5th horse home, beaten almost 10 lengths, winning her next start by a very easy 4L. The runner-up, Enshrine for William Haggas and Cheveley Park, is also very highly-regarded at home.
The selection, a daughter of Exceed and Excel, is physically very impressive, has a lovely turn of foot, and will surely stay the tip. It’s a speculative punt, but one well worth taking at an each-way price in an incredibly tricky looking renewal of the 1000.
1000 Guineas Betting Odds