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2000 Guineas tips

The 2016 Flat Season powers into life with the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket on Saturday 30th April.

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Selection – AIR FORCE BLUE (4/5, Betfair)

The 2000 Guineas remains one of the most eagerly anticipated fixtures on the racing calendar and an exciting field will line up in this year’s contest.  The Newmarket highlight has been won by some of the sport’s leading names and horses such as Frankel, Sea The Stars and George Washington had some of their finest moments in the world famous race.

Aidan O’Brien has won the Classic five times in the last eleven years and he looks poised to land the race again with long-time market leader Air Force Blue.

Last season’s champion two-year-old landed three Group Ones in his first year on the track and he could have ended the season unbeaten if he hadn’t been so green in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot (finished second).  His victories in the Phoenix Stakes and the National Stakes saw him sent off a strong favourite for the Dewhurst at the end of the season and he put up a huge display in the Newmarket highlight.

That contest is considered to be the defining race for two-year-old colts and Air Force Blue put down a clear marker for the 2016 2000 Guineas with an emphatic display.  Heavily supported in the betting and with connections incredibly bullish before the Group One, he was ridden like the best horse in the race and kept finding when he hit the rising ground.

Unsurprisingly, O’Brien described him as one of the best two-year-olds he has ever had and although lofty praise appears to come naturally to the handler, his stable stars do tend to back up their reputation on the track.

Good ground would be ideal for the market leader but his victory in the National Stakes came on yielding and he clearly has the class to come through such tests. Huge downpours between now and post time would be a negative, but confidence is high in the colt and he looks banker material in the first Classic of the campaign.

Selection – AIR FORCE BLUE (4/5, Betfair)

Ryan Moore riding Air Force Blue.

1000 Guineas Tips

Punters can look forward to another ultra-competitive renewal of the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket on Sunday 1st May.

Selection - LUMIERE (5/1, Paddy Power)

The first fillies Classic of the campaign looks to have attracted a high class field and Aidan O’Brien’s Minding is the market leader for the one-mile highlight.

The daughter of Galileo was an eye-catching winner of two Group Ones last season and her success in the Fillies’ Mile confirmed her position as the best of her generation.  She has understandably been popular in the 1000 Guineas betting ever since that victory but punters must be wary about taking a short price on the favourite.  She has a long campaign ahead and her trainer’s horses often come on for their first run of the season.

Also, stablemate Ballydoyle was considered to be a better horse than Minding for much of the campaign and the latter was sent off at 8/1 and 15/2 for her victories in the Debutante and Moyglare Stud Stakes.  Who will come out on top when the clash at Newmarket?

Ryan Moore riding Minding.

That should be an intriguing match up but it shouldn’t make too much difference to the winner and LUMIERE looks to be a fantastic bet to score for trainer Mark Johnston.

The explosive daughter of Shamardal has long been considered a superstar in the making and her power-packed display in the Cheveley Park Stud Stakes was certainly impressive.  After pulling too hard in her only defeat at York in August, she travelled to Newmarket with a little to prove and she answered her critics in taking fashion.

The way she kept finding more going into the dip in the six-furlong Group One was encouraging and she battled under pressure.  She refused to give up her lead and held off the very talented combination of Illuminate and Besharah.

Connections will be happy to have had a winter working on her tendency to refuse to settle and she will have surely grown stronger and matured ahead of the new season.  Indeed, her trainer has been very complimentary in recent weeks and was quoted as saying: “It's a bit crazy to say nothing but winning would do, but she's that type of horse and held in that sort of regard at home. We think of her as up there in our all-time top three."

Too much rain would be an issue for the exciting filly and she will need to settle if she is going to land the feature, but she certainly has more than enough ability and it will take a very good horse to stop her.

Selection - LUMIERE (5/1, Paddy Power)

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