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2000 Guineas: Stand and Deliver?

I drove back to the county of birth of that famous highwayman last night in an absolute downpour. First I thought:

Have they got this rain at Newmarket? Damn. If so all my thoughts on the 2000 Guineas need re thunk and quick.

and

Damn! I left the cat out. She’s going to be so pissed off with me. Thank God the neighbour has built that funny little shed thing for her to sit in…

As it turned out Southend had not been wetted when I got there and as far as I am aware Newmarket has had had only a light sprinkling and not enough to change the ground description of good to firm.

In the past I have spent weeks going through the runners before the Guineas, but I haven’t had a minute this year. I’ve been trying to do my thinking as I’ve gone along. I’ve watched St Nicholas Abbey’s work at the Curragh, I’ve seen the Elusive one in the Craven and I’ve had eye-witness reports of the Greenham. My job today has been to try and be objective, whittle the big field down a bit to a handful of possibilities and to cross my fingers, a lot.

My shortlist:

Al Zir – I respect this horse but not entirely convinced overall
Fencing Master – I think this horse might run better than his fancied RP Trophy winning stablemate
St Nicholas Abbey – I am not in the habit of backing shorties from Ballydoyle in any case. Not convinced by overall profile and won’t be suffering from shock if it either doesn’t or does win. Great Chamberlain thought that I’m afraid!
Elusive Pimpernel – my idea of a winner. My negative was around the so called “flat spot” coming into The Dip in the Craven. Richard Hills said this morning it didn’t look to him like much of a flat spot, more a case of Ryan Moore waiting, but not in vain.
Dick Turpin – the runner my heart is most attached to. The head has some questions. He is clearly not held in as much regard as his stablemate Canford Cliffs (who does not make my shortlist for reasons of stamina), and is by a bargain basement sort of sire in Arakan. However Arakan came from a good family, despite his race career being not exactly glittering with Group prizes. Arakan’s sire Nureyev ran in the 2000 Guineas 30 years ago in 1980 and won, but was then disqualified for pushing and shoving. He caught a virus and never raced again. If Dick could avenge his grandad today I would be happy. No-one thinks he can really, but in the Greenham he was not stopping. I would settle for a place.
Awzaan – included because of his fine record over 6f as a 2yo. The general opinion seems to be he has too much speed for a Guineas horse having won the Middle Park and the Mill Reef stakes. The Newbury race was run in quite a slow time despite the ground being quick and on balance I reckon he would stay the mile. Possible winner, definite place prospects.

My proposed top three home would be (and I wouldn’t dream of ordering them):

Elusive Pimpernel
Awzaan
Fencing Master
Dick Turpin

Oh, that’s four. Damn.

Bee & My Bleeding Heart (Dicentra spectabilis)

This one of my few non-Rudi ravaged plants and one that has given me a lot of pleasure. That’s Rudolf Nureyev to give him his full name. Is it a sign…

Gone Racing

Like nowhere else, the Rowley Mile is a right tonic. I’ve had my losing days on there too, so it’s not just about winners.

I can report that Daryl the Dazzler Holland drives a really swanky Jaguar XK, Henry Cecil looks fantastic, Sir Michael Stoute still looks like he’s sucking a lemon when he loses, Mick Channon can swear like a football player and John Dunlop’s bins would not look out of place if he were Field Marshal Montgomery. Oh, and Jeremy Noseda turned up too late to remind me I really should have backed his filly Dance East each way.

She’s a surefire winner soon enough as is Clive Brittain’s Yarooh. Wigmore Hall is well ahead of the handicapper and don’t worry if Sri Putra sweats up as it makes little difference to his winning. As for Elusive Pimpernel, if we are to believe the evidence of our own eyes, he goes to the Guineas with a good shout.

The current no fly zone over the UK did not apply to two little planes I saw taking off as the car-park was emptying. I wonder who was in them?

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As an aside I managed to watch some of what the Liberals will now be dubbing the Three Horse Race on the tv. I was amused by Beefy Brown’s persistent attempts to turn Clegg into his ho and his insistence on getting out the clearly Campbellesque crafted phrases like “It’s answer time now” (David).

Clegg himself upset me by referring to the two “Old Parties” tut, tut, but other than that I gave him two clear points on the card before we switched over to watch Welcome to Lagos. One of those points was because of his witty football answer about the Tories proposed cap on immigration e.g. if the cap is reached mid-summer and Man City want to get an expensive overseas player on transfer then what? Then what indeed!

Cameron just seemed a bit thin-lipped and old-fashioned in his policy ideas. Drug rehab for criminals David, but short-term sentences galore for smasher uppers of bus stops.

Oh dear.