The Punter: O’Brien can quench his thirst for classic success
It's hard to believe that trainer Aidan O'Brien has not won a British Classic since 2008 when Henrythenavigator sailed in to launch an Irish celebration in Newmarket's 2000 Guineas.
The Coolmore maestro is out to put that right this weekend when he has the two leading fancies for this year's 2000 Guineas and 1000 Guineas in Camelot and Maybe, a double he landed in 2005 with Footstepsinthesand and Virginia Waters.
As far as the layers are concerned, both are expected to win, Camelot having been backed in recent weeks from 5/2 into 11/8 while Maybe (pictured, ridden by Joseph O’Brien) is a solid 13/8 chance for the first fillies' Classic of 2012.
But memories of 2010 haunt O'Brien who was expected to deliver with the St Nicholas Abbey only to see the favourite finish sixth behind French challenger Makfi and not running again that year.
“I messed that up,” said O'Brien about Abbey's failure. “I forced him a bit and it took a long time for the brilliance to come back. I don't want to make the same mistake with Camelot and that's why I have only one eye on the Guineas for him.”
The number one target for the unbeaten colt is the Derby and like Abbey, being by Montjeu, will be more effective at distances in excess of a mile, although he was impressive over the latter trip in taking the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster in his second race which saw him installed as winter favourite for both the Guineas and Derby.
The Ballydoyle team also have Power and Furners Green in the race while John Oxx relies on 2009 winner Sea The Stars' half-brother Born To Sea. Richard Hannon's Trumpet Major was a very good winner of the Craven a couple of weeks ago and is backed up by stablemate Bronterre beaten at odds-on in his first outing of the season.
Expect the speedy Power, also an O'Brien runner, to run a big race and it would not be surprise if he obliged at 12/1 despite having had a setback in his preparations. He wouldn't be running if not 100 per cent while Jim Bolger's Dewhurst winner Parish Hall will have his supporters as he beat Power, Trumpet Major and Bronterre in the Dewhurst here over seven furlongs last October. At 14/1, Parish Hall is capable of making the frame provided he handles the ground.
O'Brien has the real deal in Maybe for Sunday's 1,000 Guineas. No doubt about it.
A daughter of Galileo, she has yet to taste defeat in five races and looks a class apart. Money aplenty has come for her since the start of the week and defeat is not anticipated and Maybe is worth a good bet.