The market for tomorrow’s 1000 Guineas at Newmarket is remarkably similar to that of this afternoon’s 2000 Guineas, with an Aidan O’Brien hot-pot entirely dominant. But there are essential differences.
In this case, Maybe has less to prove than her stable companion, Camelot, as she was a winner on all five outings as a two-year-old, proved herself on a range of conditions, and her performances got better with each run, culminating in victory in the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes at the Curragh.
She’s been off the track since then but her trainer reported that she came back in early and has had plenty of work in advance of this race.
A winner on bad ground, when beating colts in the Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot, she had been victorious on firm ground on her debut at Naas prior to that.
The ground on the Rowley Mile at Newmarket tends to dry up quite quickly and with a dry day on Friday and very little rain due in the run up to the race, I’m expecting the track to race little worse than good to soft this afternoon.
That’s the sort of ground which should offer no excuses and with Maybe’s tendency to travel strongly allied to her proven class, it’s hard to build a case against her.
If a choice had to be made between backing this lady at 6-4 or her stablemate at the head of the market in the colts’ equivalent at 7-4, it’s a no-brainer.
While Camelot might have more potential, Maybe has much less to prove.
If Newmarket turned up like a swimming pool this afternoon, Camelot might walk on it - or he might not - but the honest Maybe would certainly swim through it.
She’ll be hard to kick out of the frame. More than that, she’ll be damn hard to beat.
When the ground threatens to turn up soft, it leads to a seemingly inevitable interest in French raiders. That’s been the case in the 2000 Guineas and it’s also been the case here.
Jean-Claude Rouget’s Mashoora is one such Gallic raider and she claims a share of second place in the market, having started her season with an easy victory in a Group 3 at Maisons Laffitte.
Last season she was put in her place by Elusive Kate and while she may have improved since, she’s got something more to prove.
I do like the look of the Godolphin fillies, Discourse and Lyric Of Light, but I’d need to know the ground was riding somewhat quick before entertaining either of the daughters of Street Cry.
Frankie Dettori prefers Lyric Of Light, which seems reasonable given that she has winning form at the highest level, but I prefer Discourse as a long term prospect. Unless the going dries up remarkably, both may have to settle for a minor role.
Ralph Beckett’s Moonstone Magic didn’t run as a two-year-old but such has been the impact she has made in two runs this season, connections felt fit to supplement her.
Getting the trip is not a formality for her and there’s no certainty that she can hack it at this level. She might, but I’d prefer something more than 7-1 to find out.
I see no reason to suspect that Maybe will not run a huge race and much as I’d like to find something at a bigger price, I don’t see the point in doing it for the sake of doing it.
If today provides evidence of a fast or, at least, quickening track then I’ll add Discourse to the book, but I certainly don’t want to be a loser if Maybe wins. She’s a must.
nGetting back to the boys, I’m as intrigued as everyone else to see just how Camelot will get on in the 2000. But I’m not expecting anything other than a big run.
Connections have cited conditions as a possible problem for the colt and I suggest that’s because he’s such a fluid mover.
However, his pedigree - by Montjeu, out of a Kingmambo mare - suggests he should have no trouble on testing ground and I certainly won’t be subscribing to any excuses regarding the ground, should he get beaten.
I’m not overly concerned about the trip, either. He showed terrific pace in victory in the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster last year and while he’s bred for further, he looks plenty sharp enough for an honest mile.
What is of minor concern is a lack of certain pace in the race. I don’t expect a slow Guineas but there isn’t an out-and-out pacemaker and it would only be mildly surprising should connections decide to let the favourite’s stable companion, Power, stride on.
His two-year-old form entitles him to plenty of respect but he’s not a certain stayer at the trip and it’s not beyond Ballydoyle to ask him to ensure a fair and even gallop.
With that in place, Camelot should excel and while I’m not keen to recommend him at the price, I’m hoping for fireworks.
John Oxx’s Born To Sea would provide quite a story were he to follow in the hoofprints of three-parts brother Sea The Stars, who won the race en route to much bigger things in 2009.
But his sibling apparently sustained an injury when suffering defeat at the hooves of Nephrite on his second outing last season and that leaves us guessing at how good he could be.
When looking for something at bigger odds that might fill the frame, both Bronterre and Red Duke came to mind.
However, the former is not certain to get a mile and won’t be suited by having his stamina tested.
Red Duke is a really talented sort but he has had too many hard luck stories for my liking and he’d be better suited to a fast-run mile on better ground.
It’s hard to assess what Caspar Netscher achieved on his comeback but he’s got oodles of experience, should stay the trip and, at 25-1, could be value to reach the frame.
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