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Toormore on the drift for 2000 Guineas despite Craven win

| 22.04.2014

Last season’s champion two-yr-old Toormore can be backed at a top-price 8/1 with Ladbrokes, despite stretching his unbeaten record to four with a comfortable win in the Craven Stakes at Newmarket.

Trainer Richard Hannon’s son of Arakan saw off 16/1 shot The Grey Gatsby in second to take the prestigious eight-furlong event, but the bookies were clearly unimpressed with a horse that could be backed at an industry-best 7/1 for early-May’s first colt Classic of the campaign prior to this race.

As the Wiltshire-based handler stated afterwards, Toormore has now won all four of his starts the hard way, by a neck (twice), two and a half lengths and now two lengths at Newmarket, but he gets the job done nonetheless.

Much of the thinking behind pushing the colt out in the betting for the 2000 Guineas must be because of the perceived poor quality of this year’s Craven renewal.

The Grey Gatsby attracted a colossal 50/1 2000 Guineas quote following his fifth career run, and first under Jamie Spencer, while pre-race fancy Be Ready came home dead last of the six runners.

John Gosden’s Kingman, who wiped the floor with his rivals when winning the Greenham Stakes at Newbury recently, is still the 1/1 favourite for the 2000 Guineas, although Aidan O’Brien’s Australia is hot on his heels in the betting at 5/2.

The brilliant Ballydoyle horse-magician proclaimed – not for the first time in his stellar training career – that Australia may be the best horse he’s ever trained, but the Galileo chestnut hasn’t been seen on a racetrack since beating Dermot Weld-hotpot Free Eagle at Leopardstown last September.

That leaves a lot to be taken on trust at such a short price and, with Ladbrokes currently paying out a quarter the odds on the first three home in the 2000 Guineas, an each-way punt on Toormore at 8/1 looks by far the safest bet at this juncture.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Alex Fortune