Guineas Weekend preview: Pinatubo the Classic attraction at Newmarket

14th September 2021

Guineas Weekend preview

The first Classics of the British Flat horse racing season happen on the Rowley Mile at Newamrket on Guineas Weekend.

On Saturday, the 2000 Guineas sees 15 colts go for Group 1 glory. Last year’s champion juvenile Pinatubo heads those and bookmaker betting with very good reason.

Trained by Charlie Appleby for Godolphin, this high-profile son of Shamardal took on all-comers in 2019. Pinatubo won all six starts as a two-year-old.

Starting off in a humble all-weather novice event, he followed-up in the Woodcote Stakes on Oaks Day at Epsom. A step up in trip for the Listed 7f Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Pinatubo was hugely impressive there with a 3 1/4 lengths victory. He made it four wins with a strong five-length success in the Group 2 Vintage Stakes at Glorious Goodwood.

He clearly looked something special and proved it by going to Ireland on their Champions Weekend and winning once again.

Pinatubo absolutely routed the home horses in the Emerald Isle, taking the Group 1 National Stakes at The Curragh by nine lengths.

As he has since confirmed form with the third home, Arizona, in the Dewhurst Stakes at this venue, there is no reason why that re-opposing rival should turn the tables.

Pinatubo is the highest rated juvenile in the 21st Century. He also has 10lbs and upwards in hand on the 2000 Guineas field.

Nobody can question his rock-solid profile and deserving status as favourite. The question is whether or not best odds of 10/11 with BetVictor are value.

Kameko and Wichita worth each-way wagers

As Arizona has something to find with Pinatubo, there are other each-way alternatives in the market. Kameko represents in-form trainer Andrew Balding and won a Group 1 on his last term.

The son of Kitten’s Joy doesn’t have the unbeaten tag of the favourite, but still ran big races in defeat. He progressed to take the Vertem Futurity Trophy over the straight mile at Newcastle.

Usually run at Doncaster but switched to an all-weather track due to bad weather last autumn, that two-year-old race is a good guide for future 2000 Guineas horses.

Kameko ran out a very comfortable winner by over three lengths. There is no reason why the re-opposing Kinross, beaten by double that distance, should reverse the form.

With just a neck to find on his previous run behind Royal Dornoch in a Group 2 over course and distance, Kameko looks a solid each-way bet at 15/2 with 888Sport here.

Aidan O’Brien has trained 10 winners of the 2000 Guineas in his career, so should have a hand in the finish. Wichita has more scope for further progress than Arizona, however, and also appeals each-way.

This colt by No Nay Never is a course winner after a decisive seven-length success in the Group 3 Tattersalls Stakes. Wichita was a narrow runner-up in a Listed 7f contest before that and third in the Dewhurst since.

After just four career starts, he hasn’t had lots of racing at two. Arizona ran seven times winning twice.

As Wichita has arguably achieved a similar level of form with half the experience, he could improve past his stable companion. Odds of 14/1 with Betway look well worth taking each-way.

Fillies fighting on Guineas Weekend for Classic prize

The other feature race of Guineas Weekend is the 1000 Guineas for three-year-old fillies on Sunday. Quadrilateral heads the betting after a Group 1 course and distance success on her last start.

Trained by Roger Charlton for Prince Khalid Abdullah’s Juddmonte operation, the daughter of Frankel ran on late and landed the Fillies’ Mile by a head.

That followed easy wins in lower grade races at Newbury. Quadrilateral could be something special, but her big win came on a softer surface than she gets on Guineas Weekend.

Charlton’s yard hasn’t had a winner since horse racing resumed at the time of writing. That is cause for concern ahead of a Classic tilt.

While the bookies make Quadrilateral their 5/2 favourite, Irish raiders Love and Millisle are also prominent.

The former is the sole Ballydoyle representative in the 1000 Guineas. O’Brien had three in at the five-day stage, so Love being the only one to take her chance looks significant.

While she was only third to Quadrilateral in the Fillies’ Mile, that doesn’t quite tell the whole story. Love got carried out to her right when upsides the leader and still challenging.

As she was beaten less than two lengths, a truer passage puts her much closer to Quadrilateral. That is why Love, who previously landed a Group 1 in Ireland, is as short as 3/1 but a best-price 9/2 with SportNation here.

Millisle another big race course winner to consider

Millisle, meanwhile, won the 6f Cheveley Park Stakes here last season. Trained by Jessica Harrington, this filly ran on well for a 1 3/4 lengths victory over Taffle Prize.

As Millisle has never been outside the first two in five career starts, she is a consistent sort. Harrington is happy with her stamina despite a pedigree on the speedier side.

With last year’s champion jockey Oisin Murphy aboard, Millisle is 5/1 with Betfair for 1000 Guineas glory.

Popular rider Frankie Dettori has changed his mount in this Classic. Although initially down for the ride on Raffle Prize, the Italian jockey ditches Mark Johnston’s charge for Shimmering.

This is an interesting move. Dettori abandons a proven Group 2 horse on juvenile for an unexposed John Gosden trained filly taking a massive step up in grade.

That switch of mounts suggests he doesn’t believe Raffle Prize will get the trip. Johnston books French jockey Mickael Barzalona for Raffle Prize instead.

Shimmering already has a mile victory on the all-weather at Lingfield. A Classic on Guineas Weekend demands infinitely more from her but, with Paddy Power paying five places, she is 16/1 and one to consider each-way.

Stamina doubts notwithstanding, Raffle Prize is three from six and a July course winner at this venue. Her back-to-back Group 2 successes last summer stack up well and, at a general 10/1, she could still make the frame.

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