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alternative 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 Newmarket regular Jon Thompson, @jaytee6666.

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Qipco 2000 Guineas Stakes

A field of 13 head to post for the 205th running of the 2000 Guineas with the two market leaders dominating the tipsters selection columns and virtually every single discussion that you care to listen to on the race!

Dawn Approach was the champion two year old in 2012 with six victories from six races to his name including a Group II and two Group I races including his final start in the Dewhurst at HQ.

Toronado is also unbeaten with three wins last year plus the benefit of an outing and a Group III success when scoring in the Craven Stakes also at HQ a little over two weeks ago.

These two colts have dominated the market now for a lengthy period of time and there doesn’t look anything remotely like a market mover strong enough that can become a worthy third favourite come race time at 3.50 on Saturday.

There is of course another topic of major discussion related to the race and that is the possible attendance of the owner of Dawn Approach at Newmarket following the Godolphin doping scandal that has raged across the front pages of the racing (and some national) press in recent weeks.

A win for Dawn Approach will leave the racing journalists with a multitude of print options and it would be interesting to see just how they view such a high profile success for an owner that has more or less bankrolled UK horse racing for over 20 years now. There can be no doubt that there are more questions and answers required from this debacle but let’s hope that it does not affect the publicity that the race winner gets whoever it may be.

Dawn Approach is trained in Ireland by Jim Bolger and the trainer has dealt with the furore surrounding the horse’s owner in typical style by remaining silent. He has chosen to run Leitir Mor in the race as well and with that horse drawn right next to main rival Toronado in stall 13 tactics could play an important part in the early stages of the race. The only serious question mark that can be raised on the form of the Bolger runner is that at HQ on Saturday he will experience ultrafast ground for the very first time. His Group I wins came on Good to Soft at Newmarket and Yielding at the Curragh and the only time he came remotely close to racing on fast ground was when winning the Coventry at Royal Ascot. There is no reason to suspect that he won’t handle the ground however and he deserves his place at the head of the market.

Toronado signed off last year by taking the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster before reappearing at Newmarket when taking the four-runner Craven Stakes. He moved smoothly into the lead that day and seemed to handle the dip without any cause for concern although just what he beat that day remains open for debate. There were rumours surrounding the health of main rival Dundonnell that day and in accounting for stable mate Havana Gold by four lengths it is hard to ascertain what he achieved. This is major step up in class but his stable has been in flying form and it is hard to think of a jockey in better form than Richard Hughes at present.

It seems strange to be discussing a British Classic without mentioning the name of Aidan O’Brien when reviewing market leaders but on this occasion his three runners have hardly attracted any interest in the market whatsoever. With trainers son Joseph electing to ride Cristoforo Colombo, stalwarts of the Ballydoyle operation Seamus Heffernan and Colm O’Donoghue take the rides Mars and George Vancouver. Reports from Ballydoyle have had the three horses working alongside in recent weeks with speculation that O’Brien would ride Breeders Cup winner George Vancouver but after the final piece of work, and no doubt some lengthy internal discussions, that is not the case. Even with the domination of O’Brien’s horses in recent years it is hard to think that all three of these colts can be special enough to seriously challenge the top two in the market.

Garswood has seemingly got the Northern training ranks very excited and it is great to see trainer Richard Fahey and jockey Tony Hamilton competing at this level. Fahey is without doubt a trainer of serious talent and his comments that Garswood is a much more settled horse this season make you sit up and take notice. He was one of the gambles of the season so far when taking the Free Handicap in great style at the Craven meeting but this is a huge step up in class for a horse that was beaten three times in his two year old career. His price of around 12/1 looks very under-priced.

Moohaajim is a horse that is attracting each way support and it is easy to see why. Trained by the very speedily up and coming Marco Botti and ridden by Adam Kirby his form from 2012 is worth closer inspection. A runner-up twice to the highly rated Reckless Abandon he will be suited by the faster ground and is bred to be an improving three year old. His reappearance at Newbury was a decent enough effort considering he again faced going that would have been of the softer side to what he would prefer.

The final runner that is worth a mention is the Sir Henry Cecil trained Kyllachy Rise. With just a single appearance to his name in 2012 in a very warm maiden at Goodwood he reappeared at Newbury on the same day as Moohaajim and would have been another to have suffered softer ground than he would have liked. He is another that will require a massive step up in performance but Sir Henry does not run them in classics for the fun of it and this horse can have a place opportunity.

With the front two dominating the market it can be worth taking a chance with Kyllachy Rise at the 66/1 each way that is available.

Preference on the front two in the betting would be with Dawn Approach.

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