So it’s 2,000 Guineas day tomorrow and the chief supporting race for the first classic of the season is the Group 2 Jockey Club Stakes ran over 1m4f. You can still buy tickets for Newmarket Racecourse online to save queuing. Last years impressive winner Exospheric hasn’t won a race since and has moved to Australia, I’m sure todays winning connections will be hoping for a much more lucrative campaign.
We’ll start by looking at the favourite, Seventh Heaven. She proved herself to be one of the best middle distance fillies around last year by emerging victorious in the Irish and Yorkshire Oaks after not taking to the unique track of Epsom. Nothing went right for her on Champions Day at Ascot and I think she was feeling the effects of a long season when only managing fourth in the Fillies and Mares Turf at the Breeders Cup. Her reappearance this season came in the Sheema Classic over at Meydan, it was an almighty performance to finish runner up to Jack Hobbs on ground that may not have been perfect for her. This faster ground should see her in even better light and she has a huge shout with Ryan Moore on board.
Galapiat has had two runs since moving from Andre Fabre to Mark Johnston and he has looked every inch a group performer in winning a couple of handicaps very comfortably. He made a mockery of his opening mark of 85 at Leicester and then followed up in similar style at Epsom off 11lbs higher and deserves his chance in this sphere. Obviously this is a big step up and he only won once from four starts in France, so on that I’m not sure you can say he will be good enough for this. But a Mark Johnston runner in a small field where Joe Fanning can dominate from the front is a lethal combination.
Last years winning trainer Sir Michael Stoute saddles King Edward VII winner Across The Stars. He was very game that day at Royal Ascot and was well on top close home, but the worry I would have is that it took him a while to get going and it was good to soft ground. On his final outing last season he finished third in the Great Voltigeur but looked a little one paced. He has claims on his form from last season but I think in time he will appreciate a greater test of staying power.
One Foot In Heaven makes the trip over from France and was a dual Group 2 winner last year. He ran a very respectable sixth in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe behind Found and that form looks very good on paper. However a lot of his winning has been done on soft ground and the conditions will be much quicker today. A drop back to 1m2f on return didn’t see him to best effect as he didn’t have the pace to get involved and this step up in trip should more suitable.
Cleonte was no world beater for Andre Fabre and has his first run for Andrew Balding, but along with Pinzolo who has done well on the all weather over the winter, needs to produce a career best to be involved here.
In terms of having a bet, Seventh Heaven does look a little short at 11/10 but I certainly wouldn’t be laying her.
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