Qipco 2000 Guineas Preview – 11/1 Outsider Can Claim His Second Group 1!

Van Gogh looks the value play in Saturday's 2000 GuineasVan Gogh looks the value play in Saturday's 2000 Guineas

Qipco 2000 Guineas Ante-Post Preview

Wembley Looks Moore’s Pick

The first British classic of the 2021 flat season, the Qipco 2000 Guineas, is the feature race on a bumper Saturday of racing action.

The obvious starting point when tackling a British classic is to see what Aidan O’Brien is sending over, as they will invariably sit towards the head of the market – and the Ballydoyle maestro is once again responsible for the race favourite who (at the time of writing) is Wembley.

This colt took some time to get his head in front as a juvenile, finally getting off the mark at the fourth time of asking, at Roscommon last August (beaten fav in his two starts prior), but he improved exponentially after that maiden success, occupying the runner-up berth in both the National Stakes and the Dewhurst.

Ryan Moore has presumably chosen to ride Wembley – which would explain the market strength – but although he is clearly respected, there appear to be better bets at this stage.

Thunder Moon a Serious Player

Thunder Moon finished one spot ahead of Wembley when winning the National Stakes, and the soft ground was a valid excuse for that rival turning the tables in the Dewhurst.

Saturday’s expected quick ground conditions should suit Thunder Moon far more, and if back to the form of his penultimate run, he would be a major player.

Once again, however, he makes little appeal at a best-priced 5/1.

The Godolphin operation has gone without a 2000 Guineas win since Dawn Approach’s 2013 victory, yet they appear to have two live contenders here in One Ruler and Master Of The Seas.

Both have course and distance winning form to their names, with the latter particularly interesting on the back of his recent Craven win.

Van Gogh Can Brush Off Opposition

Scanning further down the betting list, you will find VAN GOGH, who looks the best bet at this stage at his current 11/1 odds.

This beautifully bred American Pharoah colt is the twelfth foal out of Irish 1000 Guineas and Epsom Oaks winner Imagine, so there is every reason to believe that he will train on at three.

A big, unfurnished juvenile, Van Gogh – much like stablemate Wembley – took time to get off the mark last season, but once he did his form took off.

Sent off the joint-favourite for the Autumn Stakes run over this track and trip in October, Van Gogh experienced plenty of trouble in running and as a result did well to finish as close to the winner One Ruler as he ultimately did (beaten just one and three-quarter lengths).

Van Gogh ended his juvenile campaign with victory in the Group 1 Criterium International at Saint-Cloud. Whilst it would be difficult to call that the strongest juvenile Group 1 run last season, the fact remains that Van Gogh’s RPR posted (116) is just a point shorter than that of stablemate Wembley (117), who currently finds himself more than half of Van Gogh’s price.

After a victory at the Curragh, last September, Van Gogh’s rider Seamie Heffernan claimed that there could be an “awful lot of improvement in time” with Van Gogh.

Whilst on paper it is obviously a negative that Ryan Moore has seemingly selected Wembley as the stable number one for Saturday’s race, it is worth remembering that Ryan Moore’s chosen mounts have finished behind their so-called lesser lights in each of the last two 2000 Guineas, and three of the last four Epsom Derby’s – so his presence aboard Wembley (if that does turn out to be his desired choice) should not produce too much of a cause for concern.

The current 11/1 odds available on Van Gogh look at least a couple of points too big considering his scope for improvement, and progressive juvenile profile.