Galileo Gold has emerged as the subject of “eyecatching money” ahead of the Qipco 2000 Guineas at Newmarket tomorrow.
The Hugo Palmer-trained colt was one of 13 declared runners for the first first Classic of the season, alongside red-hot favourite Air Force Blue from the Aidan O’Brien yard.
After landing the Group Two Vintage Stakes at Glorious Goodwood, Galileo Gold ended last season with a highly-creditable third to Ultra in the Group One Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere at Longchamp.
William Hill cut Frankie Dettori’s mount to 12-1 from 25-1, before taking further evasive action at 10-1.
Spokesman Jon Ivan-Duke said: “Air Force Blue is firmly the one to beat, but there is really eyecatching money for Galileo Gold and he looks like the each-way shout for punters.
“Frankie Dettori and Hugo Palmer both seem confident in Galileo Gold and punters have paid attention and lumped on.”
Coral are shorter still at 8-1 from 14-1, with their representative David Stevens saying: “While Air Force Blue remains hot favourite for the colts’ Classic, there has been opposition to Aidan O’Brien’s charge, with Galileo Gold in particular well-backed against the market leader in the last 24 hours.
“Punters are in agreement with Hugo Palmer that the favourite is not invincible.
“The 2000 Guineas is consistently one of the top 10 betting races of the year, and hopefully that will remain the case with this latest renewal, with the unsettled weather and the mile trip ensuring there are enough question marks against Air Force Blue to make it a lively betting heat.”
Owen Burrows cannot believe his luck in having a serious Classic contender in Massaat so early in his training career. Burrows has had just the one winner from nine runners since taking over the reins from veteran trainer Barry Hills in Lambourn.
The Teofilo colt, owned by Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, made the big leap from Leicester maiden success to the Dewhurst Stakes at Headquarters in the autumn and showed he was up to the task when clear second to Air Force Blue.
Burrows said: “It’s extremely exciting to be contesting a Classic with only my 10th runner - I have to pinch myself to check that it’s true.
“I have been very pleased with how Massaat has developed physically over the winter and, although we contemplated running him in a trial, once we looked at the timing of things we realised that it would be beneficial to go straight for the 2000 Guineas.”
“He did a racecourse gallop at Newmarket at the Craven meeting and then did a very nice piece of work last Friday, so I am confident that he is in good shape.”
Ballydoyle maestro O’Brien also saddles Air Vice Marshal after scratching his two other five-day entries, Bravery and Shogun.
Godolphin suffered a blow when their main hope Emotionless was ruled out of the race, but they can still mount a decent challenge, being represented by the Mark Johnston-trained Buratino, Jim Bolger’s Herald The Dawn and Ribchester, trained by Richard Fahey.
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