Officials at Newmarket have made a big effort over the years to ensure fairness for the 2,000 Guineas, mostly siting the starting stalls in the centre of the course and often with a cutaway rail to open things up in the closing stages. But the need to accommodate four busy days of racing will prevent such a layout this time and the stalls will be hard against the stands rail, which could help Arizona (3.35) in today’s Classic.
While it is always tricky to anticipate the way a big field will shake itself out, Ryan Moore seems likely to gain a prominent position against the rail from his draw in stall 13 of 15. From stall seven, Pinatubo is not badly placed but his most significant rivals are all drawn between him and the rail, which could make things harder for a hold-up horse like him if the field steers that way.
Indeed, the race could pan out in rather a similar way to the Dewhurst last October. Pinatubo prevailed that day but it was notable how much harder he had to work to best Arizona than he had done a month before in Ireland.
Doubtless Pinatubo can still show masses of ability but the likelihood is that some of his rivals will have matured into stronger forces in the eight months since we last saw him. Arizona looked exactly that type and there was even encouragement to be taken from his too-late charge into fifth at the Breeders’ Cup. His stablemate Wichita, third in the Dewhurst, makes each-way appeal at 14-1.
1.50 Newmarket Bar a mid-October flop, Moss Gill kept improving through last season and he is very ready for a Group race like this, with the fast ground to suit.
2.05 Newcastle There is some risk in a horse who has been absent 14 months but Daarik should have plenty more to give.
2.25 Newmarket Terebellum showed a bit of knee action in winning on Deauville’s soft ground, so perhaps this surface may be too quick. Queen Power needs to settle down but her trainer can eke out the necessary improvement.
2.40 Newcastle This will test the stamina of Nayef Road but his third place in the St Leger gave plenty of encouragement.
3.00 Newmarket A Kingman half-brother to the Arc winner Waldgeist, Waldkonig made as impressive a debut as could be hoped for. Opposing him holds no appeal.
3.15 Newcastle After two wins at Sandown as a juvenile, Palace Pier looks pretty classy and his initial rating may prove beatable. Chris Cook
English King made new Derby favourite
Ghaiyyath overwhelmed his field from the front to take the Group One Coronation Cup at Newmarket on Friday, crossing the line two-and-a-half lengths in front of Anthony Van Dyck, last year’s Derby winner, with Europe’s leading stayer, Stradivarius, back in third ahead of an attempt to win the Ascot Gold Cup for the third year running later this month.
William Buick sent the 11-10 favourite straight into a clear lead and a high-class field for Britain’s first Group One contest of 2020 never looked likely to reel him in.
At Lingfield, meanwhile, English King swept through the field from off the pace to take the track’s Derby Trial by two-and-three-quarter lengths. Ed Walker’s colt is now top-priced at 8-1 (from 40-1) for the Derby at Epsom on 4 July.
Friday’s success was Ghaiyyath’s fifth consecutive victory when racing after a break of at least 100 days, while his disappointing 10th place in last year’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe came just five weeks after his previous start. As a result, Charlie Appleby, his trainer, will take time to assess the five-year-old’s condition before deciding on a path through the remainder of the season.
“I’ve always felt confident this year that we’re dealing with the finished article,” Appleby said, “and therefore I’m hopeful that his post-race condition is going to be stronger than it has been as a four-year-old.
“We won’t really know until the next couple of days are over and we see how much weight he’s lost. If he goes straight to his feed pot and he’s bucking and kicking, we’ll know we’re dealing with a different animal, so potentially that might change our race planning and we might be able to back him up a bit quicker than we have in the past.” Greg Wood