It’s a month later than expected and there won’t be a crowd there to witness it, but the first British Classic of the season looms on Saturday afternoon at Newmarket. We mark your cards with tips on a selection from the racing action including the featured 2,000 Guineas:
Group 3 Dahlia Fillies’ Stakes (2:25pm)
Dettori may already have tasted success by that point in the afternoon, as Terebellum (
6/4) has a favourites’ chance in the Group 3 Dahlia Fillies’ Stakes (2:25).
A £400,000 daughter of Sea The Stars, she went close in the Group 1 Prix de l’Opera at Longchamp on Arc Day back in the autumn and could have plenty of improvement on what will be just her fifth career start.
She’s part of a strong Godolphin assault on this 1m2f prize, with Charlie Appleby’s Magic Lily (
5/2) next in the betting. She was in excellent fettle earlier this year out in Dubai, bagging a pair of Group 2s before chasing home Barney Roy in the Jebel Hatta, but her task her is made tougher by conceding 3lb to the field now.
Newmarket Listed Stakes (3:00pm)
On the undercard, look out for the potent Frankie Dettori and John Gosden team, with the Clarehaven handler having hit the ground running this week.
11/8) was very impressive when scoring on debut at Wolverhampton back in the winter and the half-brother to Arc winner Waldgeist should make it 2-2 with victory in the Listed Newmarket Stakes (3:00), as he bids to book a ticket to Epsom and The Derby next month.
He is one of three Gosden-trained runners in the line-up and it’s surely telling Dettori prefers him to Mishriff (
13/2), who was second in the Saudi Derby Cup Mile (dirt) in the spring.
The 2,000 Guineas (3:35pm)
The 2,000 Guineas (3:35) is headlined by last years’ unbeaten champion two-year-old Pinatubo (
5/6)*, as he seeks to justify his long-held position as favourite for the Rowley Mile Classic.
The son of Shamardal was untouchable last year and the manner in which he surged clear of Arizona to win the Dewhurst here in October bodes well for this first attempt at the mile trip.
Charlie Appleby’s star in the making is hard to oppose and should give the trainer a first success in this race, whilst providing Godolphin with their first Guineas winner since Dawn Approach seven years ago.
Aidan O’Brien’s hopes of a fourth successive win in this race are seemingly led by the aforementioned Arizona (
11/2), the mount of Ryan Moore. There was no doubting Pinatubo’s supremacy when they clashed here in the autumn, but reports from Ballydoyle suggest the runner-up is in good stead now.
The favourite is very short and, given he should win, it might be worth looking for something to play each-way at a price and Richard Hannon’s Mums Tipple (
25/1) fits the bill. He lost his unbeaten record in the Middle Park here, but had previously looked smart and is interesting upped in distance.
Newmarket Handicap (5:20pm)
Mark Johnston is another trainer that has managed to hit the ground with some speed this week and his contender Huraiz (
10/1) looks a little overpriced in the 6f handicap due off at 5:20.
The Sepoy gelding was a C&D winner on good-to-firm in August last year (form that looks decent), before running well in Group 3/Listed company on his final two starts and could prove himself better than a mark of 96 before long as a three-year-old.
A big danger to him should come from Roger Charlton’s Smokey Bear (
4/1). A dual winner last season, the Kodiac colt signed off with a cosy success on the Polytrack at Kempton and is rated just a pound higher on his comeback.
Newmarket Handicap (5:55pm)
In the finale at 5:55, a chance is given to Nate The Great (
10/1) as he makes a first start for trainer Andrew Balding. He was ultimately winless last season but shaped well at times, including here in the Bahrain Trophy in July, and may do well back in a handicap, with Oisin Murphy booked having been gelding since his relocation.
*All quoted odds correct at time of writing