Frankel is the undisputed favourite in the 2000 Guineas betting (3.10 Newmarket, Saturday). He is a short-priced odds-on shot at around 1/2 and some people believe him to be unbeatable. Be that as it may, it is my duty to point out why he is worth opposing.
Why ‘duty’? Because if you are one of those misguided souls who lump on odds-on shots then i need to save you from yourself. Backing odds-on shots is the fast route to the workhouse. This is a time honoured fact. However recently, a noisy professional punter claimed he had got so rich by betting on heavy odds-on shots. Because this obese cockney windbag was shouting from the rootops, some poor fellows believed his ‘pony and trap’. The chubby chap is now rather skint, having been forced to sell all those slow horses he had bought during his winning streak. Lesson 1: Backing odds-on shots on a regular basis will send you skint. Lesson 2: See lesson 1.
Now don’t come whining to me when Frankel duly justifies the hype and wins by half the length of the track in this 2000 Guineas . . . because I will still be right.
Ok, so if you are going to swerve the obvious nailed on certainty of the decade, here are some potential chinks in his armour:
1) He was champion two-year-old. Raincheck. He is now a three-year-old. It is a chasm similar to a ‘pre’ and a ‘post’ pubescent boy. Horses may have caught up with him. Horses may have improved past him. He may not be as good as he was in relation to his peer group.
History is littered with crumpled betting slips with the names of champion two-year-olds that were hopeless at three. Even those of short memory will recall St Nicholas Abbey, all of 12 months ago.
Going back further other “absolute certainties” to have failed, and this is far from a definitive list, include: Celtic Swing (1994), Tromos (1979), Try My Best (1978), The Minstrel (1977), Apalache (1974 at 4/9), Thatch (1973), Ribofilio (1969), Crocket (1963).
This is why the bookmakers are listed on the London Stock Exchange and their market cap is in the billions. This is why our fat friend lost his money and sold his slow horses.
2) Hype. Yes, Frankel has done the business (last year), but the hype is ridiculous. Similar to the Royal Wedding. Yes, a nice wedding but it didn’t justify the hype.
Incidentally, the bride knows a thing or too about reducing the odds. She was going to Edinburgh and then swapped to St Andrews – and his very course – when the Prince was a confirmed runner there. No wonder she and her doppelganger sibling are known as the Wisteria Sisters (wisteria is an attractive plant with a voracious ability to climb). Crafty Kate landed a well executed coup. Barney Curley could learn a thing or two. If you can find out what the oldest Wisteria Sister is backing at Newmarket then lump on, otherwise you are stuck with me.
3) Point 3 leads on from point 2. Hype breeds bad value. Frankel may win but he is bad value at 1/2.
4) There are other horses in the race, from top yards. Aidan O’Brien’s Roderic O’Connor won a French Group 1 last year. True, he was behind Frankel before that but he is no mug and we are a season on. Pathfork is unbeaten. He beat Casamento in the Group 1 National Stakes last season. Casamento then won the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy. All Group 1 winners.
5) Frankel has had a run this year. He won a poor trial. Some would say he could do no more than win and he will improve. I agree . . . to a degree. The runner-up was a 25/1 shot rated a lowly 89. Yes Frankel put good daylight between himself and the poor hairy beast, but he looked unconvincing.
6) Probably the most solid reason to oppose him. Frankie Dettori thinks Frankel is a certainty but despite that the diminutive Italian tips Saamidd and rides Casamento. He hasn’t even had that many falls on his head.
So if I am going to take on Frankel, who with? Well I want a solid each-way bet in a race like this and the bookies are paying 1/4 odds 1,2,3 for a place. This is not a handicap so they would usually pay 1/5th the odds. They are never generous, it is a minor concession. We aren’t going to thank them but it could be worse.
I want a horse who has shown good form this year in a strong Guineas trial from a trainer who is beginning to show he is pretty damn decent and certainly better than his dad. He needs to be lanky. Look no further than Ed Dunlop and his flying grey NATIVE KHAN.
Native Khan won the Craven Stakes cosily. You know he is in good heart. I cant quite understand why he is around 16/1. That looks a tasty each-way price to me.
I may have a quiet 50p each-way on outsider Broox. His former English-based Irish trainer now resides in sunny France and will have him ridden to nick a place if he can. Jockey William Buick is not a muppet. At 100/1 I just have to throw some loose change at him. He ought to be a 33/1 shot.
That’s the 2000 Guineas dealt with, so who will win an open-looking 1000 Guineas (3.15pm; Sunday)?
I fancy another over-priced trial winner in the form of the supplemented BAREFOOT LADY from the ascendent yard of Richard Fahey. She ran on well over 7 furlongs to win the Nell Gwyn Stakes. Again that is solid form from this season, which is so crucial at this stage of the campaign. The 25/1 looks too big.