Four favourites have won the first Classic of the season, the 2,000 Guineas, in the last ten years, but winners at 40/1, 33/1, 25/1 and 11/1 in the same period provide cause for optimism as far as this column is concerned. Regular readers may recall that, this time last year, we latched onto the ‘wrong’ outsider trained by Richard Hannon, Shifting Power, instead of the winner, Night Of Thunder, so we’re hoping for better fortune this time around.
Room Key (100/1) was beaten 4 lengths when fifth of six behind Estidhkaar in the Champagne Stakes, over 7 furlongs, at Doncaster last September, but that form looks all the better for the latter’s neck second, behind Muhaarar, in the Greenham Stakes at Newbury two weeks ago. Ivawood was only third, beaten 4½ lengths, on that occasion, so a strict interpretation of the form suggests Room Key is outstanding value at the odds on offer. He’s by Mount Nelson, winner of the Eclipse Stakes, so should be suited by the step up to a mile and could be open to significant improvement after just four starts.
Trainer Hugo Palmer is confident that Home Of The Brave (33/1) has sufficient stamina for a mile after winning the European Free Handicap, over 7 furlongs, at Newmarket earlier this month. Home Of The Brave is by Starspangledbanner out of a Beat Hollow mare, so has plenty of stamina in the bottom half of his pedigree. However, he attempts to become the first winner of the European Free Handicap since Mystiko, in 1991, to win the 2,000 and, as his trainer acknowledged, there’s ‘a big difference between staying a mile and being good enough to win a Guineas’.
Celestial Path (25/1) has 3¼ lengths to find with Elm Park on their running in the Racing Post Trophy over a mile at Doncaster last October but, back on faster ground, may be able to reverse the form. His two previous wins came on good to firm and good going so, although he’s officially rated 7lb inferior to Elm Park, he could be worth chancing. Certainly, he’s bred to be a top-class miler and may just have a little more scope for improvement than his rival.
Selections: Room Key (100/1 generally available), Home Of The Brave (33/1 with Bet365, Sky Bet and William Hill) and Celestial Path (25/1 generally available).