Angus McNae's Racing UK Blog
|Saturday 30th April 2016|
It will be either dark and Stormy or Bolger will Herald a new Dawn in the Guineas
There is little doubt that Air Force Blue deserves to be favorite for the Qipco 2000 Guineas. He is rated very highly by the Ballydoyle team and has the form to match. His season ended with wins in the National Stakes and Dewhurst Stakes and both races were won comfortably and with good times.
When you add to that potent mix that he is ridden by Ryan Moore who is clearly the best jockey in the race by a mile and you have an odds-on shot that will probably win the first Classic of the season.
He is not a betting proposition though, because in the last week his aura of invincibility has been eroded. Firstly their has been rain about, which could blunt his speed, but also we have to take in to consideration that he is wearing a tongue tie for the first time. From that we have to infer there are some concerns about his breathing, and on that sort of going I would much rather get a bigger price by backing something each-way.
My main each-way play in the race has to be Stormy Antarctic. I was impressed with his Craven Stakes success, when he cruised through the race before surging clear coming out of the dip to win comfortably. He readily disposed of Foundation, who should have won the Racing Post Trophy last season. Granted Foundation may not have quite been at his best, but Stormy Antarctic looked like an improved performer.
It would seem that some cut in the ground is important to him. It was officially good to soft at Newmarket and with rain having fallen on the Rowley Mile on Thursday night he looks as if he is going to get an easy surface. He can be a little bit keen, but there should be enough pace on for George Baker to get him settled behind horses and deliver him late. He should be backed each-way at 8-1.
My other play is Herald The Dawn at double figures in the without the favourite market.
This horse only has to show a bit of improvement from two to three and he will be in the mix. He finished second to Air Force Blue in the National Stakes and while he was no match for the winner in the closing stages he would have been closer had he settled better early in the race. His subsequent effort at Longchamp was something of a no race for him as he pulled furiously before weakening behind Ultra.
Now with a winter behind him I am sure he will be a more settled individual. There is a lot of speed on the dam’s side of his pedigree and he is a brother to the 2000 Guineas winner Dawn Approach, who was handled brilliantly by his trainer Jim Bolger and it is not out of he question that he will have worked his magic on this well-bred individual. In form terms I think 33-1 is too big and if he settles better now than he did last year he is a real player. He should be backed each-way at 33-1 but I cannot resist the 18-1 with bet365 each-way without the favourite. It is tremendous value.
I am also going in double-handed in the opening Class 2 Handicap at Headquarters. Sir Michael Stoute has made a quick start to the season and I will be backing both of his runners to win. Mutamakkin put up an eye-catching performance on the Rowley Mile at the Craven meeting, when he finished off very strongly in a race that was steadily run.
He did well to get into third late on and really hit the line running. There could be more to come from him and he should go well, albeit with a small caveat that he seemed to lack some pace in the middle part of the contest.
My second play in the opener is Intimation. He has been off the track since last July, but when we did see him he was really impressive winning at Leicester. His four and a half length success underestimates his ability and a 10lb rise in the weights to a mark of 90 looks very fair indeed. The excellent Pat Smullen takes the ride and there is just a chance that this is a pattern race performer lurking in a handicap.
Angus McNae's Saturday tips:
2.00 Newmarket: Mutamakkin at 3-1 generally available
2.00 Newmarket: Intimation at 5-1 generally available
3.45 Newmarket: Stormy Antarctic each-way at 8-1 with BetVictor