This looks a wide-open renewal of the 2000 Guineas, but you wouldn’t think so based on the betting, with Auguste Rodin as short as 6/4 with Betzone. I have been keen to take this horse on all winter, and his odds are ensuring that the rest of the field are big prices. Sure, Auguste Rodin looks a very good horse, and he is the most likely winner, but he took a while to get rolling on very bad ground in a strongly run Vertem Futurity last back end. He should improve plenty over the winter on breeding, but I expect him to end up more of a 10-12f horse by the end of the season, and he may not have the pace for a mile.
Stablemate Little Big Bear is next in, and he was most impressive when landing the Phoenix Stakes on his most recent start. An injury curtailed his season subsequently, but the vibes have been good for him and he has 5lb in hand on official ratings. Stamina is the concern given the speed he showed last season, and as a son of No Nay Never he may not improve as much as some from 2-3.
Chaldean To Go Close
Chaldean is very solid. He has Group 1 winning form at the track, was a very good juvenile who should have improved over the winter and progressed with every run last season. He had a bit of a disaster when losing his rider at the start in the Greenham on his seasonal debut, but he looks the most solid option in the race.
Royal Scotsman wasn’t far behind Chaldean in the Dewhurst and would have a chance, as too would Sakheer, although he looked fast last year and his stamina for a mile is not assured. As, too, did Noble Style, whose win in the Gimcrack could not have worked out any better. He looked like he would stay at least 7f when winning two back, and this Godolphin colt has the ability to win if stretching his stamina out.
Indestructible will stay and proved his wellbeing by winning the Craven Stakes on his seasonal return. He has ground to make up with Chaldean on two efforts last season, and it may be that he struggles to cope with stablemate HOLLOWAY BAY, who is the each-way selection at 20/1.
Karl Burke’s colt sprung a big surprise when winning on debut at Royal Ascot, and generally ran well throughout the season in good races. The application of a visor appeared to have the desired effect in the Vertem Futurity as the son of Ulysses burst clear inside the final three furlongs. Unfortunately, he moved way too soon there and ultimately paid the price for making such a huge move on terrible ground. The key factor there was that he made Auguste Rodin look an inferior opponent until his stamina kicked in, and these conditions should tilt things in favour of Holloway Boy further. He should get plenty of cover from the projected headwind, I love the fact he ran lights out first time up last season, and may well be able to outrun his big odds.