Belfast Telegraph

The Punter: A Path to Guineas glory

There is one outstanding 2,000 Guineas bet that must be taken now.

No, it's not Frankel who is likely to go off the hottest favourite since Nijinksy's win four decades ago. Instead focus on Pathfork and snap up the 7-1 each-way and do it quickly.

Frankel should win and the current price of 8-15 is likely to shrink even further, if as anticipated, the number of non-runners increases.

Already out is Dubawi Prince while serious doubts remain about Wooton Bassett which leaves Pathfork as the prime challenger to Frankel's bid to give Henry Cecil his first 2,000 Guineas winner since Wollow in 1974.

Frankel was impressive in the Greenham last Saturday when far from 100 per cent in terms of fitness. The class is there for all to see and that may frighten off a number of hopefuls, thereby leaving it the smallest line-up in years at Newmarket on Saturday week. Therefore, with the ante-post market currently each-way the first three, it leaves Pathfork as a bet to nothing.

The Jessica Harrington-trained Irish colt may not win, but it will take something out of the ordinary to keep him out of the frame. And don't forget, if you take the 7-1 now, the fewer runners, the better. Ante-post betting excludes any potential rule 4 deductions or the each-way terms being altered if there are seven runners or less on race day.

Pathfork, like Frankel, is unbeaten, winning all three starts including the Group One National Stakes at the Curragh last September when beating the subsequent Racing Post winner Casamento a head. The latter is now a fancy for the Derby for which Frankel is a ludicrous 4-1 favourite.

As far as Henry Cecil and the Epsom Classic are concerned, his number one for that is likely to be World Domination, a most impressive debut winner at Newbury last Saturday.

In fact, with Frankel at the head of the Derby market, World Domination is a great call at 10-1. He will next run in the Dante Stakes at York and if a winner there, will be around 2-1 for Epsom.

Back to the Guineas, Pathfork goes straight to Newmarket without a run but that should not be a concern. Dual purpose trainer Jessica Harrington, more renowned for handling top jumpers and hurdlers, has in Pathfork the best flat horse she has ever handled and will have him cherry ripe. He may have to play second fiddle to Frankel in this clash but what of it? That would be no disgrace.

Latest 2,000 Guineas betting: 8-15 Frankel; 7-1 Pathfork; 8-1 Roderick O'Connor; 16-1 Native Khan, Wooton Bassett; 20-1 Dream Alive, Casamento; 25-1 Zoffany, Fury, Dunboyne Express; 33-1 bar.

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