It’s the first English Classic of the year on Saturday (May 5, 3.15pm), but our 2000 Guineas betting tips are from across the channel. It could be another French winner at Newmarket, this time in the form of Abtaal chased home by compatriot French Fifteen. Here we give our preview and guide to the main contenders and their chances for the big race.
CAMELOT: This is the red-hot favourite in the 2000 Guineas Betting. The son of Montjeu out of a Kingmambo mare cost over half a million as a yearling. His performances to date suggest he was not a waste of money for the mob of billionaires at Coolmore.
Anyone who watched Camelot’s dominant victory in the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster in October could understand why he was immediately quoted as the favourite for both the 2,000 Guineas and the Derby in 2012. It was just his second run and he made his more experienced rivals look distinctly one paced, beating Jim Bolger’s Zip Top by two and a quarter lengths without coming off the bridle.
He previously won his maiden at Leopardstown in July with consummate ease. His starting odds on his racing debut were a prohibitive 1/3, demonstrating the confidence he had generated at Ballydoyle.
When his trainer, Aidan O’Brien, announced on 22 April that the 2,000 Guineas would be his target, his price shortened dramatically. Whether he is a good value bet as an untried three year old will only be discovered on the day – remember their hotpot St Nicholas Abbey (he is still running!).
FRENCH FIFTEEN: This Nicolas Clement trained son of Turtle Bowl had an impressive two year old season clocking up four victories from six outings in France over distances ranging from six to eight furlongs. He was particularly impressive in his final outing as a two year old, winning the one mile, Group One Criterium International at Saint-Cloud on going described as very soft. He won comfortably by a length and a quarter from Mario Hofer’s Pakal. The Aidan O’Brien trained favourite, Learn, finished fourth, a short head behind Andrew Balding’s Bonfire under Jimmy Fortune.
French Fifteen has already proved himself as a three year old, winning his Guineas prep run, the Prix Djebel at Maisons-Laffitte on April 5th, beating the favourite, Jean-Claude Rouget’s Abtaal, by a neck.
French runners can offer decent value in the 2,000 Guineas betting market. The French raider, Mikel Delzangle’s Makfi won the 2010 2,000 Guineas at 33/1. French Fifteen stands a great chance of being the next horse from over the channel to defeat an Aidan O’Brien trained favourite at a generous price.
TRUMPET MAJOR: Trained by Richard Hannon, this £20K purchase as a yearling has more than covered his costs for owner, John Manley. Trumpet Major won three of his eight starts as a two year old including the seven furlong Group Two Champagne Stakes at Doncaster in September. Trumpet Major had little luck in running in his final start as a two year old, finishing fifth in the Dewhurst but only just over a length behind the winner, Jim Bolger’s Parish Hall (a surprise absentee from the 2000 Guineas final line-up).
On 19th April 2012 Trumpet Major made an impressive start to his three year old season, winning the Craven Stakes impressively over a mile at Newmarket under Ryan Moore. He beat his stablemate Crius by five lengths, staying on strongly at the finish. Having proved himself as a three year old, this son of Arakan (like the same owner’s previous star Dick Turpin who was 2nd in his Guineas) has to be one for our short-list of 2000 Guineas tips and appeals each-way in the betting odds.
ABTAAL: Another proven three year old trained in France with a fair chance of winning the 2,000 Guineas. Jean-Claude Rouget trains this son of Rock Hard Ten for Hamdan Al Maktoum who paid US$325,000 for him as a yearling at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Sales.
Abtaal won two of his three starts as a two year old, ending his season with a victory in the Group Three Prix Thomas Bryon over a mile at Saint-cloud under Maxime Guyon. He beat Nicolas Clement’s French Fifteen by three lengths.
In his debut run as a three year old in the Prix Djebel at Maisons-Laffitte, the positions were reversed and he was beaten by French Fifteen by a neck. You could call him unlucky as his momentum in the race was broken as he stumbled slightly under jockey Christophe Soumillon about a furlong from home but he still managed to get very close to winning.
CASPAR NETSCHER: He had a very busy two year old season. This son of Dutch Art out of a Singspiel mare won three of his nine runs in the UK including two Group Twos, the Mill Reef Stakes over six furlongs in September and the Gimcrack at York in August.
Trainer Alan McCabe decided to try his luck at the end of his two year old season with a run in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Churchill downs in November. It was probably one race and a few thousand miles too many and he finished a disappointing eighth of fourteen runners in a contest won by Aidan O’Brien’s Wrote.
After his intensive two year old campaign, Caspar Netscher reappeared successfully at Newbury on 21 April and won the Group Three Greenham Stakes over seven furlongs, beating John Hills’ 20/1 outsider, Boomerang Bob by a length. The hot favourite, Richard Hannon’s Bronterre finished a further length and three quarters behind in third. It was his first run as a three year old. With just five runners and a race time half a second slower than the fillies’ equivalent on the same day (who carried exactly the same weight as the colts), this win merely suggests that Caspar Netscher has emerged, undamaged as a three year old.
Alan McCabe is a small trainer (and we are not talking height) with this one good horse and he does seem to have been completely ignored in the odds because of it. We will see whether that lack of faith by bookies and punters alike is justified.
All of the horses in this 2000 Guineas preview have a real chance but, whilst an unraced three year old may well take the top prize, our top betting tips are for Abtaal and French Fifteen who provide much better value for punters.
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