A huge weekend in store on both sides of the Atlantic this weekend as the flat-racing season really ramps up a notch.
At Newmarket on Saturday afternoon CHURCHILL bids to give Aidan O’Brien an eight 2,000 Guineas winner and his third in the last six years. He was Europe’s leading juvenile last season, his big-race haul including the Chesham, National Stakes and Dewhurst. Aidan O’Brien can clearly ready one for a Classic first time out, but this looks a warmer Guineas than looked likely in late March and let’s not forget that Air Force Blue (from the same stable) was well beaten when odds-on to win this same race last year. CHURCHILL will have no problem staying a mile and has answered every question asked of him so far. Of the opposition BARNEY ROY looks most likely to cause an upset. He won his only start at two and looked a shrewd purchase by Godolphin when running out a two lengths winner of the Greenham at Newbury. He hit the line hard that day and will relish going back up to a mile here and looks a colt potentially right out of the top drawer.
From Churchill to Churchill Downs on Saturday night as we see the 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby. Dubbed “The most exciting two minutes in sport” for good reason, it’s always worthwhile staying up late on the first Saturday night in May to catch it. But the 2017 Kentucky Derby field is wide open and has a chance for surprises to emerge from the middle of the pack. ALWAYS DREAMING is the favourite at time of writing but a big outsider to watch could be IRAP. The three-year-old colt came out of nowhere to upset Tapwrit, Practical Joke, McCracken and J Boys Echo – four Kentucky Derby contenders with great odds, amongst other high profile horses, in the million dollar Grade II Blue Grass Stakes on April 8. If that was an indication of his true talent then there’s no doubt that he’s massive at around 25/1.
Back to Newmarket on Sunday as the ladies take centre stage with the 1,000 Guineas off at 3.35pm. RHODODENDRON sets a good standard on her Fillies’ Mile succes. She was only third behind Intricately and Hydrangea in the Moyglare Stud Stakes but comprehensively reversed form with the latter with a stylish win in the Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket next time. Will be very hard to beat here if in the same mood here and is bred to make into an even better three-year-old. Proven at the course and ticks all the right boxes. DABYAH looks like the best of the home team at this stage.
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