The disappointing run of Air Force Blue was a timely reminder that however strong a horse’s credentials appear, and however strong the vibes are from the camp, there is no such thing as a certainty and I have no qualms about trying to take on the front of the market in today’s 1,000 Guineas.
The selection is Nathra (3.40 Newmarket), trained by John Gosden, who improved in leaps and bounds in a light 2yo campaign, winding up finishing second to Minding in the Fillies’ Mile. It interested me in the week to hear that John Gosden said she was as good as any of his four winners of the Fillies’ Mile and I anticipate more improvement from the Nell Gwyn winner. Given how much manoeuvring Frankie Dettori had to do that day to get her in the position that he wanted, I felt her effort was particularly meritorious and, granted normal progression from first to second run of the season, I can’t see her finishing out of the frame, and I still believe she represents decent value.
Elsewere on the card, Slunovrat (1.50 Newmarket) can continue the excellent early season form of Sussex-based trainer David Menuisier. This horse looked an improved performer in common with many of the stable’s horses on seasonal debut and, with Oceanographer making the market, Slunovrat should go off a reasonable price.
A slightly chancier selection comes in the shape of Crystal Zvezda at 2.25. She looked devastating in an Oaks trial at Newbury first up last season but her slightly hot-headed demeanour in the preliminaries got the better of her as the season progressed. First time out might be the best time to catch her and if she’s just learnt to switch off and settle, I believe her talent can come through and she can give some of those at front of the market quite a bit to think about. She’s got a lot to find on ratings with the likes of Amazing Maria, Irish Rookie and Jazzi Top, but she could well go off a decent price and there is some mileage to be had in following her this season.
The six furlong handicap (3.00) looks a devilishly difficult race to fathom but it could well be that Teruntum Star follows up his victory at the Craven meeting when he looked most impressive in defeating Bertiewhittle and it’s interesting that his trainer Kevin Ryan has booked Ryan Moore in the absence of Jamie Spencer.