Andy Holding has an ante-post tip for both Saturday's 2000 Guineas and Sunday's 1000 Guineas at Newmarket.
Charlie Appleby will be desperate to land his first Guineas as main trainer for Godolphin and in the shape of Native Trail, the Newmarket-based handler looks to have his best ever chance. Impressive at two, landing both The National Stakes and The Dewhurst, the son of Oasis Dream carried on where he left off last season by capturing the Craven on his opening bow to this campaign and in doing so, he posted the sort of speed figure which suggests he’s still improving. The only negative that you can cast in his direction is the fact he does take a while to get into top gear and with a likely big field to contend with on the day, any traffic issues could cause a slight concern.
His main danger on all known form is LUXEMBOURG (best price 9-2) and he, too, arrives at HQ with an unbeaten record under his belt. Hugely impressive when he won the Beresford Stakes at the Curragh on just his second outing, the son of Camelot was a little more workmanlike in landing his Group 1 at Doncaster on his final start, but as the ground that day wouldn’t have played into his strengths, the fact he still came through with flying colours says a lot for his pure class. Reportedly said to have done well over the winter and gone well in several recent racecourse gallops, his devastating turn of foot could turn out to be the key component in the final analysis.
History dictates the winner of the first fillies Classic of the season is a little harder to find, but it’s a race the French raiders have a fair record in over the years, so with that in mind, MALAVATH (best price 8-1) may be worth more than a second look.
A steady improver throughout last season, the daughter of Mehmas was sent over to have a shot at the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies’ turf over a mile and despite being sent off one of the outsiders of the 14-strong field, she ended up running an absolute blinder. Towards the rear early, she finished off her race incredibly well to only narrowly fail to get up late on, but it was a performance which offered up plenty of hope of potential glory for the future.
Back in action at Deauville recently, she returned from a 153-day break to score in cosy fashion at the main expense of last season’s Prix Marcel Boussac heroine, Zillie, and with connection soon to nominate this race as her next target, the trip over the water should reap dividends hailing from a stable that knows a thing or two about plundering some of our top prizes.