Wednesday 7 December 2016

Cloud to rise above rivals

Published 30/04/2011 | 05:00

SO, how many of you got roped into watching that bloody royal wedding yesterday? Honest to God, it would drive a man to drink -- there was no getting away from it.

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My missus is Canadian and the queen is head of state over there, so I suppose she had an excuse, but I can't understand why the rest of Ireland cares.

Brian O'Driscoll couldn't hack it and he got on the blower to Buckingham Palace during the week to tell Prince Willie that he had a Leinster match to prepare for instead.

Thank goodness for sport -- and I took a leaf out of Drico's book yesterday and told the missus that I had to skip the wedding TV coverage in order to study and prepare for the 2,000 Guineas meeting at Newmarket today.

It got me off the hook, but in truth, the 2,000 Guineas script writes itself and I'll be gobsmacked if Frankel doesn't hack up here (3.10), albeit at a very short price of 4/7. He's the shortest priced favourite since the great Nijinsky won at those odds in 1970 and it's not hard to see why.

Last season, the Henry Cecil-trained colt proved himself as one of the best juveniles we've seen in ages, easily taking the Dewhurst and Royal Lodge -- and while he wasn't spectacular on his return in the Greenham Stakes a fortnight ago, he did enough to win with ease while warming up for today in the process.

Is he worth backing at that price though? It all depends on how you perceive value. Out of interest, I checked to see how well, or otherwise, horses priced 1/2 have performed in Group One races in the past six years and the results were slightly positive. Nine horses went off at that price with six of them winning, so a tiny profit of €42 would have been shown had you backed them all with a ton.

Odds of 1/2 suggest that Frankel has a 64pc chance of winning this race, so put simply, if you think he's got a better chance than that, back him. If you think otherwise, get on the machine and lay.

It wouldn't be very original if I put up a 4/7 shot as my main bet for the weekend, so we skip forward to tomorrow's 1,000 Guineas, where French raider Moonlight Cloud could be the punt of the day at around 4/1.

In recent times, the fillies' Classic has been a happy hunting ground for non-British trainers with Natagora and Special Duty taking the prize money back to Chantilly in 2008 and 2010 respectively, while Finsceal Beo and Virginia Waters claimed the honours for Jim Bolger and Aidan O'Brien earlier in the decade.

At the time of writing, the going is expected to be good-to-firm and Moonlight Cloud's trainer Freddie Head reckons the faster the ground, the better.

She bounced back to form when winning the Prix Imprudence last time, a well-known Classic trial won by Natagora in the past, and she looked like she had plenty in the tank when crossing the line.

Havant and Memory are the strongest domestic challengers, while Ireland's Joseph O'Brien will get his first ever Classic ride for his father Aidan when he jumps on board Empowering, which is generally available around 25/1.

EACH-WAY OUTSIDER

Kay Gee Be has gone up 4lbs for his successful seasonal return at Newbury recently, but I reckon he still has a bit more to go before the handicapper catches up, so early quotes of 8/1 for the British Champions Series Suffolk Handicap (2.0 Newmarket) appear generous.

SELECTIONS

2.0 Newmarket: Kay Gee Be (e/w)

2.15 Goodwood: Ferdoos

3.10 Newmarket: Frankel

3.15 Newmarket: Moonlight Cloud (tomorrow)

Irish Independent

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