ITV Racing tips: Late entry Mutasaabeq to reward connections’ bold call with 2000 Guineas success?
The Flat season is finally front and centre with the running of the first Classic of the season, the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.
Back in its traditional calendar slot for the first time in two years – it was run in June last year because of the pandemic – it’s time to see who has the early bragging rights.
On recent evidence that honour has belonged to Aidan O’Brien and the record-breaking Ballydoyle trainer will attempt to win the race for an extraordinary 11th time and tenth time this century.
He saddles three runners, including the favourite Wembley, who will have to counter Thunder Moon, trained by his son Joseph, and three Charlie Appleby-trained Godolphin representatives.
Mutasaabeq, supplemented at a cost of £30,000, represents the family of the late Hamdan Al Maktoum.
The 2000 Guineas will climax a six race TV schedule which will also take in a race each from Goodwood and Thirsk.
It all unfolds from 13:25 on ITV and we have previewed the three most significant races of the day in our ITV Racing tips.
It could be fourth time lucky for Judicial who, though now nine-years-old, shows no signs of slowing down.
Effective at 5f and 6f he won a Group 3 and Listed prize last season after being beaten three quarters of a length in this race last year.
He missed out by just a neck in 2018 and can at least be guaranteed to run his race, which hopefully will take him very close to winning.
Godolphin’s Lazuli and Garrus, who both have had the benefit of a recent run this year, look the biggest dangers.
The calibre of the last two runnings of the St Leger will be put to the test here as last year’s Doncaster Classic third, Pyledriver, meets Sir Ron Priestley, runner-up in the race in 2019. They are the two class acts in this 1m4f contest which will dictate whether they are ready to return to Group 1 company this summer.
Sir Ron Priestley missed the whole of last season but made an impressive return to action by winning the Further Flight Stakes over 1m6f at Nottingham.
Effective at a 1m4f, longer trips may suit Sir Ron Priestley better, whereas Pyledriver has shown all his best form at this distance in winning the King Edward VII Stakes and Great Voltigeur.
A victory would be a great start for the new training partnership of William Muir and Chris Grassick.
This looks a wide open edition of the colt’s Classic with ten of the field rated within 7lb of each other.
Top of the pile is Wembley and while he is one of three representing the Coolmore/Ballydoyle axis and is to be ridden by Ryan Moore, he hardly boasts outstanding credentials.
The colt was beaten in his first three races and finally got off the mark in a Roscommon maiden. It was when he was pitched into a G1 on his next start, staying on strongly to take second behind Thunder Moon, that he joined O’Brien’s elite juveniles.
He filled the same slot behind stablemate St Mark’s Basilica in the Dewhurst Stakes. If he is the best in the field, on rather unconvincing evidence, it may be worth a look at the unexposed Mutasaabeq.
After one start last year, he posted the most impressive performance of the Craven meeting when winning a 7f conditions race by six lengths. He wasn’t entered in the Guineas initially because of doubts about his temperament, but connections came round and paid the late entry fee.
His breeding is impeccable, as he is out of the 1000 Guineas winner Ghanaati, and the trip should be fine. Best of the rest? Maybe Van Gogh. Ballydoyle’s third string, according to the betting, is already a G1 winner and second favourite for the Derby.
ITV Racing Schedule, Saturday 31st April
13:50 Newmarket – Suffolk Stakes
14:05 Goodwood – Conqueror Fillies’ Stakes
14:25 Newmarket – Palace House Stakes
14:40 Thirsk – Thirsk Hunt Cup
15:00 Newmarket – Jockey Club Stakes
15:40 Newmarket – 2000 Guineas
All odds and markets are correct as of the date of publishing.