Officially the highest rated colt in Saturday’s mile and a half Classic, the Teofilo colt boasts easily the best form in the race as it was in the Group 1 Qipco 2000 Thousand Guineas on the last day of April that he was beaten only a length and a half by Galileo Gold. That form has been given some gloss by the winner who then finished a honourable second to Awtaad on yielding ground when bidding to complete the English/Irish Guineas double at the Curragh in May and by the sixth Zonderland who won the Listed Heron Stakes at Sandown recently and by the seventh First Selection who finished runner-up to The Gurkha in the Group 1 Poule D’Essai Des Poulains (French 2000 Guineas) which this year was run at Deauville.
Pedigree experts may point to the fact that Massaat’s dam Madany is by Acclamation and only won at sprint distances but a review of the video of the 2000 Guineas shows that Massaat was staying on strongly when headed by the winner and was pulling further ahead from the third Ribchester and the fourth Air Vice Marshal as he raced to the line. Further inspection of his pedigree shows that his granddam Belle De Cadix won her only race over a mile and five furlongs at Wexford and Teofilo, (winner of his five races at two over seven furlongs – including two Group 1) has proven to be a sire whose progeny stay further than they should.
Further analysis of the statistics show that in nine of the past 11 years the winner of the Derby has come from horse that either won or were placed in the 2000 Guineas or the Dante, and clearly we have a recipe for success.
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Some people may ask who is Owen Burrows, but his pedigree is very much one that has Derby-winning trainer written all over it as he was assistant to Sir Michael Stoute when Workforce, North Light and Kris Kin won their Derbies and has a wealth of experience that obviously led to his recruitment at Kingwood House stables in Lambourn.
Massaat was the apple of Barry Hills' eye before he set foot on a racecourse last season and finishing runner-up to the then considered juggernaut Air Force Blue in the Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket last October was a massive step up from winning a Leicester maiden. At the odds of 16-1 Massaat is just too big to go unbacked for a colt who would probably be favourite or vying for favouritism should he have been trained by Aidan O’Brien, John Gosden, Sir Michael Stoute or any other high profile trainer. Win or lose, a 1pt each way bet looks a must in a year when there could well be a lot of deadwood in the ultimate test of a racehorse.
Should Massaat not inherit the stamina from his grand dam then a saver is advised on Deauville at the current odds of 10-1. As mentioned earlier, the winner of the Derby has in normal circumstances been gleaned from the formlines of the Guineas or the Dante and this son of Galileo ran a race brimful of potential in the Dante Stakes at York when beaten a neck by the racefit Wings Of Desire. Jamie Spencer is riding as well as he has done at any stage of his career and has been riding winners for Jim and Fitri Hay as easy as shelling peas in a recent weeks. Again, he is the third highest rated colt on official ratings and, if the rain stays away and the ground continues to dry out, I expect him to be right in the thick of action.