Racing UK

Angus McNae

Fabre ready for another smash and grab raid on Newmarket

1 May 2015

The Qipco 2000 Guineas this year looks to be something of a scrambled picture. The trials in England have served to throw negative vibes into the collage. No horse has really stamped his authority on the race, and 3-1 favourite Gleneagles has not seen a racecourse this year. 

I think we need to broaden our horizons and look beyond the end of our noses to find the leading candidate and this means we should go to France.

Andre Fabre rarely wastes any ink when writing in his program book and after his colt Terrritories won the Prix Fontainbleu at Longchamp three weeks ago he would have been left in no doubt that this horse was a bright 2000 Guineas prospect.

He made short work of beating a decent horse in Karar, who is strongly fancied for the French equivalent. He travelled strongly and powered clear when asked to quicken, he even looked a little bit green and inexperienced in the process.

Watching that performance I have no doubt that this is the best Guineas trial we have seen.

His two-year-old career was similarly impressive and he was certainly unlucky in the Group One Jean-Luc Lagardere at Longchamp in October where he was narrowly beaten by the subsequently disqualified Gleneagles.

Now he faces that horse again on the back of an impressive win, whereas Gleneagles has not been seen yet and the Aidan O’Brien team have been in patchy form in their native Ireland. I would much rather back Territories at around 5-1 than Gleneagles at 3-1.

The main danger to Territories may come in the form of another horse who was supplemented for the race in the form of Intilaaq. He was visually impressive when winning his maiden at Newbury and the clock backed up the often deceptive visual impression. These are good enough reasons to give him a chance, but his run style makes him a stronger proposition. He bowled along in front at Newbury and this style is ideally suited to Newmarket.

Horses struggle to make ground from the rear along the Rowley Mile and he may just be hard to peg back.

His inexperience is a worry - as the Americans would say he lacks the necessary seasoning and conditioning, but that said he does not lack ability and the track is perfect for him.

Nothing impressed me much in the Greenham Stakes or the Craven Stakes.

Muharar was a nice winner of he former without striking me as being a Guineas winner, and Kool Kompany benefited from an easy lead at Newmarket.

I anticipate that both will struggle. The one horse who looked to have run a solid trial was Moheet.

He was well-backed for the Craven, but on only his second start he looked green and had no chance from the back of the field in that race. He is highly thought of, and he could make the frame at a big price.

I am obviously scared of Gleneagles, but we do not know what to expect from him. His run in France was tremendous, but his restrictive price and lack of a run has put me off. He will certainly run well and may win but I could not recommend him as a bet.

We are delighted to be broadcasting the Kentucky Derby from Louisville on Saturday night and I will be joined in the studio by James Willoughby and Mark Milligan of Timeform – please join us as the 141st Run for the Roses looks a cracker.

It is a tough task trying to separate the top five in the betting for this year’s race.

Materiality, the winner of the Florida Derby in gritty fashion, is my selection, however. He dug deep to grind out victory from Upstart in that race, and although he was not that impressive his Beyer figure of 110 was.

He has a stout pedigree and will stay 10 furlongs well and he may just see the race out better than some classier types who possess more speed. American Pharaoh, the favourite, is an obvious danger, but do you really want to back him from stall 17 from which no horse has ever won? I thought not!

Dortmund, who, like American Pharoah, is trained by Bob Baffert, rates as the main threat having already won an allowance contest at Churchill Downs, before making all in the Santa Anita Derby. He likes to make the running and may be vulnerable late on as a consequence. I will take Materiality to run him down and the two can be combined in an exacta at 14-1 and 7-2 to hopefully give a healthy payout.

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Angus McNae's Saturday tips:

3.45 Newmarket: Territories win at 6-1 with Bet365 and Bet Victor

3.45 Newmarket: Intilaaq each-way at 11-1 with Paddy Power

3.45 Newmarket: Moheet Place bet at 5-1 on exchanges

11.34 Churchill Downs: Materiality at 14-1 with Bet Victor, Ladbrokes and Skybet

11.34 Churchill Downs: Exacta Materiality and Dortmund

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