Belfast Telegraph

The Punter: Frankel is Guineas class

Only one favourite has won the 2000 Guineas in the last decade but Frankel should improve those stats come Saturday at Newmarket.

George Washington in 2006 was the last ‘jolly' to oblige but it'll be a major shock if Henry Cecil does not have the flag flying at Warren Place following victory with a horse he believes to be probably the best he's handled in his 40 years as a top trainer.

Cecil, with 35 Classics at home and abroad under his belt, knows all about the champagne times but has also sampled the flat-beer period of limited success which saw him almost quit a few years ago when the winners dried up and he was beset with health problems.

However, with the continued backing of Prince Khalid Abdullah who owns Frankel, Henry has battled back on both the personal and professional fronts to put himself back in the big picture.

It is 12 years since he won a colts' Classic (Oath in the 1999 Derby) and he has not tasted 2000 Guineas glory since Wollow (1976). He did, however, win the Oaks with Light Shift four years ago.

Frankel is unbeaten in five starts and his odds of 4-7 reflect his chances, although odds-on shots have been hammered before, while last year's so-called good thing, St Nicholas Abbey (evens), failed to deliver.

And Henry is feeling the pressure, having decided to refuse press interviews in the build-up to the race. Expect the valve to be released once Frankel dots up.

The favourite looks bomb-proof but the son of Galileo has a tendency to get worked up before racing and if he does that this weekend, it could see a burning up of essential energy that just might prove his undoing in the heat of battle. So keep an eye on the big race preliminaries for any signs of ‘boiling over.'

What will chase him home? Look no further than Jessica Harrington's Pathfork, also unbeaten and like Frankel, a Group 1 winner, having taken the National Stakes at the Curragh in which he beat the subsequent Racing Post victor Casamento.

Those seeking a bit of value, should do the straight forecast or look for a bet on Pathfork without the favourite.

As for the fillies 1000 Guineas on Sunday, that's a more competitive affair but again, Jessica Harrington should be thereabouts with her Laughing Lashes (10-1), who although beaten by Misty For Me in the Moyglare Stakes (7f) at the Curragh, will be better suited to the mile and anticipated fast ground.

Belfast Telegraph


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