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2019 Flat racing tips – Ante-post tips for both Guineas, the Oaks and the Derby

Jonathan Vine 14 Nov 2018
Frankie Dettori celebrates after guiding Too Darn Hot (centre, pink) to Dewhurst glory at Newmarket.

Our expert has looked through the betting for the 2019 2000 Guineas, 1000 Guineas, Epsom Oaks and the Epsom Derby to provide readers with his ante-post tips as the 2018 campaign comes to a close.

Some have said the 2018 flat season was largely underwhelming, compared to recent seasons, and it’s fairly hard to dispute that claim. Yet, we’ve still seen some magical performances from older horses and some stand-out showings from this year’s crop of juveniles.

An impressive campaign as a two-year-old ensures your position at the head of the betting for the following season’s Classics. Our expert has taken a look through the betting for next year’s 2000 and 1000 Guineas, along with the Oaks and the Derby at Epsom, and come up for four ante-post tips.

2000 Guineas

Ten Sovereigns and Calyx feature prominently at the head of the Newmarket betting, but both shaped like sprinters to me and I look forward to some epic showdowns between the two in races like the Commonwealth Cup and the Darley July Cup. Persian King was sent on a scouting mission to Newmarket when he won the Autumn Stakes and Andre Fabre’s charge could be a prominent figure on the Classic scene in 2019.

Quorto looks to be a classy beast and Advertise offers plenty of value at his current price. Yet, it’s hard to knock anything TOO DARN HOT did last season and he looks tailor-made for the 2000 Guineas.

John Gosden took his time in stepping the brother of Lah Ti Dar up to the highest level. A seven-length maiden triumph was followed by a simple victory in Group Three company. Too Darn Hot then appeared in the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster just two weeks after his Sandown success and Frankie Dettori’s mount put the field to the sword with an superb display of speed.

Gosden was worried that the undulating track at Newmarket, and the firm ground he encountered for the first time, would put the favourite off his game in the Dewhurst. Too Darn Hot, however, rose to the occasion magnificently and made a high-quality field look rather ordinary. 

6/4 may not seem like a value-packed ante-post tip, but if Too Darn Hot arrives at Newmarket at the top of his game, I can’t see anyone being quick enough to beat him in the 2000 Guineas.

Other Options
Quorto (8/1 Ladbrokes)
Advertise (16/1 Betfair)

Ronan Whelan riding Skitter Scatter (eft, red) clear to win The Moyglare Stud Stakes at Curragh.

1000 Guineas

American raider Newspaperofrecord looked magnificent at the Breeders’ Cup and would surely be the favourite if declared. It’s been a funny old season for the European fillies, with few showing any real sort of consistency, and this could be the perfect opportunity for Chad Brown to bring his star to Newmarket and try to take the famous trophy back to New York.

However, there’s relatively little chance of that happening and the sensible bet here would be to side with a British or Irish challenger. Aidan O’Brien will doubtless play a strong hand, with Just Wonderful and Fairyland his leading contenders. Iridessa saw off two capable performers in convincing fashion to win the Fillies’ Mile and Main Edition looks a good value bet – despite an underwhelming end to the season.

For me, though, the outstanding 1000 Guineas candidate has to be SKITTER SCATTER. Patrick Prendergast’s filly has been a little overlooked in the betting and she could be the best value bet in all of the 2019 Classic markets.

Few would have guessed, after watching the filly lower Sergei Prokofiev’s colours over five furlongs at Dundalk, that Skitter Scatter would establish herself as a Guineas contender. Yet, Prendergast’s charge matured as the season went on, following a Group Two victory at the Curragh with a maiden Group One triumph around the same track.

Ronan Whelan allowed his mount to find her rhythm behind the leaders in the Moyglare Stud Stakes and the result was never in doubt once the favourite hit the front with a furlong to travel. Just Wonderful, Hermosa and Lady Kaya were all well beaten on the day and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Skitter Scatter followed that Moyglare success with a Classic triumph on the Rowley Mile.

Other Options
Newspaperofrecord (10/1 Paddy Power)
Iridessa (20/1 Coral)

Ryan Moore riding Just Wonderful (left) to victory at Newmarket.

Epsom Oaks

Rainbow Heart is a horse that I like the look of further down the betting. William Haggas’ filly stopped the clock in a strong time after setting her own pace during her maiden victory at Newmarket and she could follow a similar path of progression to stablemate Sea Of Class, who didn’t even appear during her two-year-old campaign.

While both appeal, Aidan O’Brien’s record in the Oaks is very hard to ignore and JUST WONDERFUL could be suited by a step up in trip in 2019.

On her final run before the Moyglare, Just Wonderful stepped up to a mile for the first time, comfortably beating Peach Tree and Fleeting in a Group Three. Her final outing of the season came over a mile at the Breeders’ Cup, where Ryan Moore’s mount recovered brilliantly from a slow start and poor track position to finish fourth behind Newspaperofrecord.

Despite winning the Rockfel Stakes over seven furlongs, there’s no doubting Just Wonderful did her best work over a mile and, being by Dansili, she’s bred to succeed over middle distances. If things go to plan during the early months of the season, Just Wonderful could be Aidan O’Brien’s leading light in next year’s Oaks.

Other Options
Iridessa (16/1 Betfair)
Rainbow Heart (33/1 Ladbrokes)

Quorto (near) powers past Anthony Van Dyck to win the National Stakes at the Curragh.

Epsom Derby

Kevin Prendergast celebrated Classic success on British soil back in 1977 and he could return to England with a live Derby chance if he chooses to bring Madhmoon over for the Derby. The Sheikh Hamdan-owned colt was unbeaten in two starts as a juvenile and the way he brushed aside a good field in the Champion Juveniles at Leopardstown was extremely impressive.

Another youngster to make my Derby shortlist was Phoenix Of Spain, who crossed the line just a couple of lengths behind Too Darn Hot in the Champagne Stakes. Jamie Spencer was hard at work on his mount a long way from home in the Vertem Futurity Trophy, but Charlie Hill’s imposing colt responded to pressure well before being pipped to the post by Magna Grecia and he looks a classy middle-distance horse in the making.

Anthony Van Dyck is much better than his result in the Breeders’ Cup suggests and he has the class to be a Derby contender. He was, however, comfortably defeated by QUORTO when they clashed in the National Stakes and I fancy he could make it two Derby wins in a row for Buick, Appleby and Godolphin.

Quorto did everything very easily on his first two starts, cruising to victory in a maiden before securing a four-length triumph in the Superlative Stakes at Newmarket. Anthony Van Dyck put it up to the favourite at the Curragh, but Quorto managed to grind out a victory and was pulling further clear of his rival on the run to the line.

Being by Dubawi and out of a mare spawned by Mount Nelson, staying further than a mile should come naturally for Quorto. He certainly has more class than what this year’s Derby hero, Masar showed during his juvenile campaign and I expect Quorto to be one of the stars of the season when 2019 rolls around.

Other Options
Madhmoon (20/1 BetVictor)
Phoenix Of Spain (20/1 William Hill)

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2019 Flat racing tips – Ante-post tips for both Guineas, the Oaks and the Derby

Our expert has looked through the betting for the 2019 2000 Guineas, 1000 Guineas, Epsom Oaks and the Epsom Derby to provide readers with his ante-post tips as the 2018 campaign comes to a close.

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