Racing Post Trophy winner Marcel should not be underestimated in Saturday's classic.
Whilst memories of Air Force Blue’s price crashing on Dewhurst Day are still strong, I do think he’s opposable at current odds ahead of the 2000 Guineas. The best 2yo they’ve ever had, apparently, may not turn out to be the best 3 year old. It’s perhaps not the strongest field on the face of it, certainly not the deepest in recent years, but the more I look at it, the more I fancy some of the lesser tried juveniles from last year could develop into superior 3 year olds and improve past a modest Dewhurst winner. The Guineas tales of St Nicholas Abbey and One Cool Cat mean I’m very happy to have 2 on side against the odds-on favourite. Galileo Gold is a very interesting runner who will likely get ideal conditions and the yard say they couldn’t be happier with him. I’m not mad about the draw though. We saw last year that the race really developed towards the stand rail. The cut-away gives so much opportunity that side - a rail to run against with little deviation from the stalls before an all but guaranteed opening as the false rail joins the stand side proper - and I think that’s where most will be heading, particularly given a smallish field. Stall 1 isn’t a disaster, but it’s certainly not ideal.
Marcel is a horse I readily dismissed for the Racing Post Trophy and didn’t pay a huge amount of attention to subsequently. Johannes Vermeer has done the form no harm though, form that ties in with Stormy Antarctic and Galileo Gold, and I think Marcel could be a touch underestimated here for a trainer who knows how to win a Classic. He’s well drawn to sit off these, as he did at Doncaster, and try and pick up the pieces late. The great thing about this race now in conjunction with his style is hard luck stories should be a thing of the past given the space afforded 2 and a half furlongs out. He has to step up but this is just his 4th start and word in Newmarket last week was he lines up on Saturday in fine form.
Marcel - 1pt @ 12/1
Back to the start of the day now and I was hoping Mutamakkin would be a bigger price. He isn’t. Niceofyoutotellme is a safe bet to be there or thereabouts but I can’t help thinking there’s likely to be something better treated. That could be Emerald who showed the benefit of his reappearance last time. A course winner, I think he has plenty in his favour here. The negatives - he carries his head high and it’s no surprise to see the cheekpieces kept on, and he is not well drawn. For all this is a big field, the false rail and subsequent cutaway is likely to pull so many runners and riders that way that I think stall 1 is as bad as it gets. He is, however, likely to be dropped in and Liam Jones can be patient with him. If they get going early enough then it could suit a hold up sort and he still looks fairly treated.
Emerald - 1pt @ 14/1
A big field Palace House throws up a few opportunities to take a big prices about some of these. You can get a real shock in these big field sprints and Sir Maximilian proved that out in Meydan on Super Saturday last year when going in at 33/1. A pace meltdown up top suited his closing style that day and, whilst it’s unlikely we’ll get a burn up here, this track may just suit him better than the sharper 5 furlongs out in Dubai. He is 1 from 1 over course and distance - that came fresh on debut for Ian Williams. He actually has a good record fresh and I’d be even keener were he back from more than just the month off here. Cheekpieces go on, which I’m not sure is a positive or not, he’s well drawn to track the pace towards the stand side likely set by Take Cover and Jungle Cat, and he doesn’t have as much to find as his odds would suggest. 2nd best off at the weights here, I’m surprised he’s anything like the price he is.
Sir Maximilian - 1pt @ 33/1
Bet of the day time in the form of Czech It Out at Goodwood. A course and distance winner fresh last year off 5lb lower, he’s back first up this season and proved he could be competitive off this mark towards the latter end of the season. He was ridden prominently last year when winning so it was a surprise to see him ridden with more restraint last time at the track, when drawn handy. I fully expect him to be more aggressively ridden here and that should suit from stall 5 given the lack of pace on. He clearly likes Goodwood, his yard are going well and here’s hoping F M Berry is positive on him. Another mention must go to Lincoln. Not well drawn, I hope he’s beaten with a 'never better’ run before lining up in the Victoria Cup at a price. Keep an eye on him, he’s ready to roll soon.
Czech It Out - 1pt @ 12/1