Qipco 1000 Guineas Preview – Course Specialist Looks the Each-Way Play!
Qipco 1000 Guineas Ante-Post Preview
Barbara Heads the Betting
When glancing at the 1000 Guineas market, the first thing to note is how short the favourite – Santa Barbara – initially looks at 6/4.
After all, this is a once-raced Curragh maiden winner, who put up an RPR of just 91 – impressive for a first start, but surely not enough to warrant being sent off 6/4 for the 1000 Guineas?
Well, that may be the initial impression, but if you read between the lines with some of the comments coming out of her all-conquering stable, you begin to see the full picture.
Aidan O’Brien recently claimed that Santa Barbara “looks like a five-year-old colt” and that she shows “an unbelievable amount of class at home”. When someone with the ammunition that Aidan O’Brien has begins to make comments such as that about one of his horses, you sit up and take note.
Whilst it’s tough to recommend her at odds of 6/4 on the back of what she has currently achieved, you get the impression that anything other than a win in Sunday’s 1000 Guineas will bitterly disappoint connections.
If this daughter of Camelot really is as good as her yard believe, she is going to take all the beating – but there are plenty of alternatives lining up against her this weekend that are far more experienced and bring far better form to the table.
Star Juveniles can be Opposed
Pretty Gorgeous is currently the clear second favourite behind Santa Barbara, and it is easy to make a case for her on the back of her Group 1 winning juvenile form.
The main concern for Pretty Gorgeous’ backers is the ground, as all her best form last season came with some dig. But should she handle conditions she is likely to give Santa Barbara most to think about.
Next in the betting is Alcohol Free, who was also a Group 1 winner at two, taking the 6f Cheveley Park. Andrew Balding’s charge only just about scrambled home in the 7f Fred Darling a fortnight ago, however, and her pedigree far from guarantees that she will see out this extra mile.
As in almost every renewal of the 1000 Guineas, there are also legitimate stamina concerns about a number of these – yet that comment should not apply to SAFFRON BEACH, and she rates the value each-way selection at her current 12/1 odds.
Unbeaten in two starts as a juvenile – both victories coming at this venue over 7f – Saffron Beach made her seasonal reappearance in the Nell Gwyn Stakes earlier this month, and she put up a career-best performance on the figures to finish second behind Sacred.
Whilst 7f is about as far as Sacred is likely to want to go, Saffron Beach – on pedigree at least – is expected to have no problems with the extra furlong. Her dam stayed a mile, and connections reported that she took a bit of pulling up after the line in the Nell Gwyn, suggesting that she had more left in the tank.
Her proven ability to handle Newmarket’s undulations should prove an asset against some of her less-experienced rivals, and in recent years, horses such as Night Of Thunder and Billesdon Brook have both proven that defeat in a Guineas trial is no barrier to success in the main event.
Whilst, unfortunately, Saffron Beach is going to be nowhere near the huge odds of the aforementioned pair, she does appear to have a good blend of proven course form and lack of stamina/ground concerns, which makes her a decent bet to at least finish in the frame this weekend.