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2000 Guineas preview

Due to a sloppy effort on the bookings by yours truly, I've ended up with two previews of the 2000 Guineas. Well, it's that good a race, and they have contrasting opinions, so why not print them both! This one comes from international form student David Haddrell, @davidhaddrell.

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The 2000 Guineas

Saturday afternoon sees the first UK classic of the 2013 season at Newmarket over the famous Rowley Mile. This looks a strong renewal with some big reputations on the line. As usual, I'll skip through the field one by one...

1. Correspondent
Won a maiden and a novice race on polytrack as a two year old and reappeared in the Greenham this year but got stuffed finishing fourth of the five runners. Brian Meehan's horses often improve for the run but even so, this one needs to improve about four stone! 100/1 in the betting and rightly so.

2. Cristoforo Colombo
One of three Ballydole horses and the first string if you believe the jockey bookings. Campaigned purely over 6f last season and looked to need a mile, been punted throughout the Winter for the race and the fast ground and a mile should suit. However, the fact remains he's only ever won his maiden and Dawn Approach had his number at Royal Ascot, even though that was nearly a year ago. Either way, not for me at 8/1.

3. Dawn Approach
Winner of all six starts, including the Coventry, National and Dewhurst Stakes. Exceptionally talented and impressive horse who is bidding to go one better than his great sire New Approach. The trip, ground and track won't pose any problems and he's got the obvious best form in the book too. Clearly deserves his place at the top of the market but for a horse that ran as early as March last year coming into this against some exciting horses, I wouldn't be rushing to take 6/4 when the room for improvement is a lot less compared to some of his rivals.

4. Don't Bother Me
Won a Leopardstown maiden last summer but beaten by horses that wouldn't even stand a chance in this. Shouldn't even be in the lineup. Extreme windmill tilting.

5. Garswood
The winner of the European Free Handicap looked to thrive on the better ground and step up in trip last month here at Newmarket and the time of that race was very strong. He's clearly long been well regarded as he's been well backed in every race for the yard. Looks to have improved hugely as a three year old and whilst some say he isn't bred for a mile, I'd rather go on what my eyes tell me and this fella wasn't stopping over a stiff 7f last time. They'll go a good clip here and a mile doesn't worry me at all. Sadly however, the value has gone and the 25/1 last week was pornographic but at 12/1, he's less of a play but could be one for the W/O fav and front two market as well as one to include in exotics.

6. George Vancouver
Winner of the Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf last season on quick ground out in California. Finished behind Dawn Approach in the Dewhurst though and there's not much evidence for suggesting he'll turn that around. Also worth noting his two wins have come on tight left-handed tracks and he's got beat when fancied when running over a straight course on a couple of occasions. I think he'll be a decent three year old but I'm suspecting he's going to be more like Power or Oratorio in that he gets beat here and wins a decent one later in the season.

7. Glory Awaits
Won a Haydock maiden last year and beat fair and square in races far below the level of this since. Will be 1000/1 on Betfair at the off and rightly so. More windmill tilting.

8. Kyllachy Rise
Interesting that Cecil runs a twice-raced maiden in this race but even so, that description tells its own story. Probably the most interesting of the four or five outsiders but will be doing well to make the frame and 66/1 reflects his chances.

9. Leitir Mor
The pacemaker for Dawn Approach but still managed to come second in the Dewhurst. Will be interesting to see where Whelan goes from his high draw, if he comes to the near rail, he could outrun his price massively but suspect he'll track across to be near his chestnut stablemate. If anyone is betting without the front 2, he could be a nice EW play in the market.

10. Mars
Won a maiden at Dundalk last August and problems kept him off the track since. Bred for further than this and suspect he's running here because the yard think they are short of a top top horse for the race so are playing a numbers game. Battered that maiden at Dundalk but 12/1 on it's second career start and it's first start on turf in a field this strong? He'd be 25/1 minimum if he was trained by anyone else. Easily passed over.

11. Moohaajim
A huge talking horse as a two year old who never quite proved to be top class getting beat in the Middle Park when well fancied. Supposedly was always going to be a better three year old but beaten comfortably in the Greenham and whilst I expect him to improve on that run, I still think he's got too much to find to get involved here.

12. Toronado
Winner of all 4 starts including the Champagne and the Craven last month. I wasn't that taken with that run at first as he beat a small field and I didn't think we learned a lot about him. However, the sectional boys have been getting very excited about him and to do the final 3f in around 33 seconds last time out is incredibly impressive. Obviously the main threat to Dawn Approach but the market has also cottoned on to that and the value has gone. If Dawn Approach is punted on the day, he could be value in a match bet against the fav.

13. Van Der Neer
Last but by no means least is Richard Hannon's second string Van Der Neer. Winner of three of his four races, only getting beat by Kingsbarns in the Racing Post Trophy, he will have no issues with this trip and the ground should also suit him. He won in workmanlike fashion when a short fav at Lingfield last time out, the yard won that race with Dubawi Gold and he chased Frankel home in this two years ago. At 25/1, this is the value in the race. Hughes said he'd improve for that race too. He's got his ground, trip and a decent pilot and the only worry is if they track across to the stands side as he's drawn one but I think that's unlikely.

Summary

The front two in the betting are clearly deserved first and second favourites, but they are both a bit too short for me and whilst it'll be hard to turn them both over, I think the value in this race is definitely Van Der Neer EW but there are a few other possible angles into making a few bob in this race. Overall, a belter of a race and I fancy Toronado over Dawn Approach but Garswood and Van Der Neer will get significantly closer to them than the betting suggests IMO.

Advice

Back Van Der Neer EW at 25/1 in the main race market
If anyone is betting without the front 2, bet Leitir Mor and Garswood EW
Back Toronado in a match bet with Dawn Approach

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