New Lewis Wheatley Blogs - Guineas Ante-Post Focus

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19th April 2018 

Over the coming weeks I will be taking a look at some of the biggest and best races over the Spring/Summer and looking into Ballydoyle's chances in those races before providing you with a tip that will hopefully see you win some money. 
This week I will be taking a look at both the QIPCO 2000 & QIPCO 1000 Guineas on the Rowley Mile in the first week of May. Winner of both races in 2017 thanks to Churchill and Winter, Aidan O'Brien boasts a very strong record in the first Classic of the season and promises to send yet another strong team to try and further enhance that record. 

2000 Guineas
Team Ballydoyle's biggest hopes seem to be spread out across three horses, which are Saxon Warrior (4/1F), Gustav Klimt (5/1) and U S Navy Flag (14/1).

Saxon Warrior brings the best form into the race should he run. This son of Deep Impact was a gutsy winner of the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster at the back end of last season, seeing off Roaring Lion by a neck in good-to-soft ground. Making smooth headway inside the final 2f, Roaring Lion went with and headed Saxon Warrior inside the final furlong, and although being slightly hampered in last 100 yards, Saxon Warrior gamely stuck on to get his head back in front to land the final Group 1 of the season. He will benefit a lot more from faster ground this season which he didn't get at Doncaster and he should get further too. As we all know, the Racing Post Trophy is seen as a big Derby Trial nowadays but it remains to be seen whether he will see out the full 1m4f. He should have enough speed to run a big race in the 2000 Guineas and he is the deserved favourite. 

Gustav Klimt is next and is generally valued as a 5/1 shot after winning the Leopardstown 2000 Guineas Trial off a 300 day lay-off from the G2 Superlative Stakes over 7f at Newmarket in July of last year. After finishing fifth on debut at the Curragh over 6f, Gustav Klimt is now seeking a fourth win in a row in the 2000 Guineas back at Newmarket next month. Chasing the leaders throughout, Gustav was slightly hampered and lost his place 2f out, but after switching left and making significant headway again, he ran on gamely to win by a head, showing a lot of class of determination in the process. Course winning form isn't essential in the 2000 Guineas, as the last two winners have both come to Newmarket for the first time to land the first Classic of the season. Gustav Klimt has won on the July Course which may give him a slight advantage of knowing how to handle the undulations of an up and down track like the Rowley Mile and he has to have a massive chance of putting that experience to good use and winning a third 2000 Guineas in four runnings for Team Ballydoyle. 

The final Aidan O'Brien trained colt I expect to see lined up in the 2000 Guineas is U S Navy Flag. The Champion Two-Year-Old of the last season after winning both the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes and Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes, he without doubt brings the best form into the race as he has two victories on the Rowley Mile and he did beat Mendelssohn in the Dewhurst who has since hacked up in Dubai by 18 lengths and is very well fancied for the Kentucky Derby. The only worry about U S Navy Flag is the fact he is by War Front who unfortunately hasn't had a good record with his three-year-olds in Europe in recent years and he was very disappointing when finishing stone last in the Guineas Trial at Leopardstown behind Gustav Klimt, finding absolutely no extra when asked to go on, but that could have been the ground which was very testing. He is worth another chance on faster ground to tell us if he has trained on and hadn't done too much last season and at his current price, he will certainly have plenty of e/w supporters. If he bounces back at Newmarket, he will be a seriously formidable force but you can understand many punters reservations. 

My tip:

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Back Gustav Klimt at 5/1. I was very impressed with the way he came back from being hampered in the Superlative Stakes to win at Newmarket last season not to mention how well he travelled in his seasonal reappearance at Leopardstown, settling out the back quietly before making good progress approaching final furlong chasing the leaders before asserting nicely to go and win his race going away. His reappearance couldn't have gone any smoother and his connections will be delighted. He has a massive chance. 

1000 Guineas
Moving on from the 2000 Guineas, we move on to the following day, where the fillies have their chance to take centre stage, with the 1000 Guineas highlighting another great day's racing on the Rowley Mile. 

Winning with arguably his third string last season, Winter, who went on to be the star filly of the season, Aidan O'Brien will be looking to land his third 1000 Guineas in three consecutive seasons, but does have to deal with the unfortunate injury of Clemmie, who is now likely to miss the Newmarket showpiece and the two who I would like to focus on and highlight as the two leading fancies from Team Ballydoyle are Happily and September.

Beginning with Happily, the full-sister to past 2000 Guineas winner Gleneagles, Happily will be very well fancied to emulate her brother's success now especially with the absence of Churchill's sister, Clemmie. After finishing down the field on her racecourse debut, Happily won four of her next five starts, which included two Group 1 successes, firstly in the Moyglare Stud Stakes on Irish Champions Weekend and then the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere, beating the colts from the back of the field, coming through nicely at the finish. She was very disappointing at Del Mar, finishing last of fourteen runners at the Breeders' Cup, but I think you can forgive that run and put it down to a very long season. I would strongly fancy her to put that run right behind her at Newmarket and bounce back to her very best and have a great chance of landing the first fillies' classic. 

Moving on to September. By Deep Impact based in Japan, September is a filly I've loved since day one when she hacked up by five and a half lengths at Leopardstown. She was my banker of the week in the Chesham where she impressively came upsides and scooted past her rivals to win, beating Nyaleti by two and a half lengths, putting herself on the map as one of the leading two-year-old's of the season. Things went slightly downhill from there, managing only fourth in the Gr2 Debutante at the Curragh where Magical beat Happily, she then chased home those rivals again in the Moyglare, which in fairness had turned out to be decent form. September then ran a screamer when only beaten a nose at Newmarket in the Group 1 Fillies Mile, beaten by Laurens who is clearly a top class filly. On her final start, September ran another great race for third at the Breeders' Cup in the race where she was expected to fall short again to Happily. I really think she has an amazing chance of giving Aidan a third consecutive 1000 Guineas and I would absolutely love to see her do it. 

My tip

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I think this 1000 Guineas is going to be very tight and the two Ballydoyle fillies will definitely not be far away from each other and the winner will depend on what the ground is like. With Happily's only run on fast ground resulting in her bombing out at Del Mar after a long season, it's clear as day her best form does come on a softer surface whereas September prefers it rattling fast, though she has won on yielding ground. This is going to rather look like I'm letting my heart rule my head but I really do think September can win the 1000 Guineas, and if the ground does turn out to be on the fast side which is tends to be at Newmarket in May, that is only going to boost her chances even more. Her run behind Laurens over C&D ws outstanding and if she can reproduce that I think she has to be very close in there, but you can't also discount Happily bouncing back to form and you'd have to respect she has held September in the past but on softer ground, so I'm going to stick firm with my selection and that is to back September at 7/1 most definitely to place in the 1000 Guineas but I also strongly fancy her to win it. 

By Lewis Wheatley For Lewis Wheatley Blogs 9th April 2018

Ballydoyle Horses To Follow 2018/19:
With the new flat season starting to kick into gear, I have prepared a list of horses reigning from the world renowned Ballydoyle Stables who I think you ought to keep your eyes on over the upcoming season and those who will have big hands to play at the big Summer and Autumn Festivals. Starting with the Juveniles, I will look into yet another strong team of two-year-old's for Team Ballydoyle and some of the less exposed three-year-old's going into their Classic seasons. So without further a do, here we go. 

1) UNNAMED (Galileo x Butterfly Cove)

A full-sister to Group 1 winner's Ballydoyle & Misty For Me, this (so far) unnamed daughter of Galileo is bred in the purple and will be one of the many regally bred fillies in the Ballydoyle yard this season. All being well, I'm sure Aidan will target races like the Prix-Marcel Boussac and that calibre for this filly who could follow in the footsteps of Ballydoyle who also won this race herself in her two-year-old career.

2) UNNAMED (Galileo x Magic Tree)

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Another very well bred daughter of Galileo, this filly is a half-sister to the ultra-consistent former Coral Eclipse winner, Mukhadram. If she is anything like her half-brother, she will be a very high class filly and will hold her own very well in races of the highest level.

3) UNNAMED (Galileo x Night Lagoon)

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A half-sister to 4 time Group 1 winner Novellist, who as a three-year-old, won the Grand Prix De Saint Cloud in France before romping away with the King George at Ascot and closing out his career back on home soil with success in the Grosser Preis Von Baden-Baden. This filly will be stamina laden and a filly who will come into her own certainly as a three-year-old. 

4) LAND FORCE (No Nay Never x Theann) 

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Purchased at Goff's Orby for 350,000 euros, this son of freshman sire No Nay Never is a half-brother to Grade 1 winner in the United States on turf, Photo Call, who most famously beat Queen Anne heroine Tepin. I have heard some really good things about the first crop of No Nay Never and hopefully this young fella will be one of the best of the crop.

5) UNNAMED (Dubawi x Sky Lantern)

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By leading sire Dubawi and the first foal out of QIPCO 1000 Guineas heroine Sky Lantern, you would be silly not to be jotting down this colt in your notebook's this term. I genuinely can't remember the last time Coolmore invested in any of Dubawi's crop until this season which says a lot and I think with his pedigree you would be forgiven for expecting some big things from this colt. 

1) AMEDIO MODIGLIANI (Galileo x Gooseberry Fool)

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By the best stallion in the world, Galileo, Amedeo Modigliani is very much an unknown quantity coming into this season, and has almost halved in price for the Epsom Derby in June. Third on racecourse debut behind Gustav Klimt at the Curragh, Amedeo followed that up breaking his maiden over a mile, quickening up nicely to go past his nearest challenger and scoot clear to win by upwards of five lengths. He's entered in the Guineas, but it remains to be seen whether he does indeed go down that route. The Irish Derby Trial route of the Ballysax and the Derrinstown seems the most likely, Chester will be given thought I'm sure but Ballydoyle is blessed with having so many hopefuls they can spread them out leading up to June so keep your eyes peeled. 

2) U S NAVY FLAG (War Front x Misty For Me)

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Winner of the G1 Middle Park and G1 Dewhurst at Newmarket at the back end of last season, it's without doubt that U S Navy Flag was the Champion 2yo of the season. The form in particular of the Dewhurst has turned out to be top notch too, where U S Navy Flag cosily saw off Mendelssohn who hacked up in the UAE Derby by 18 1/2 lengths and goes to Kentucky as a leading candidate. Of course the major question mark is War Front 3yo's in Europe don't exactly have a very good record, so it's understandable many will fear this son of his will not train on at 3, but there is no doubting his form coming into this season and being out of one of Aidan's finest ever racemares, he might have a chance of doing what other sons of War Front were not able to succeed. You'll see this guy at Newmarket for the 2000 Guineas. 

3) ST PATRICK'S DAY (Pioneerof The Nile x Littleprincessemma)

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A full-brother to American Triple Crown hero American Pharoah, St. Patrick's Day has quite interestingly been moved from the Bob Baffert stable to Aidan O'Brien for the upcoming turf season. In two starts,  St. Patrick's Day finished second at Del Mar over 6f before following up over C&D the next time out, and it's worth noting that both of those starts came on the all-weather, so obviously connections feel he has what it takes to act on turf considering his dirt pedigree. It will be really interesting to see what happens this coming season with him and what sort of plan is in place, but one thing is for certain, if all goes well, I will fully expect him to see him part of a very strong Breeders' Cup team in November, and he could be perfect for a whole range of different races, maybe, finally, the long overdue Breeders' Cup Classic?

4) DIFFERENT LEAGUE (Dabirsim x Danseuse Corse)

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Another new recruit into the Ballydoyle ranks this season, Different League makes the move from France and former trainer Mathieu Palussiere. Different League kicked off her career with a hat-trick of wins at Lyon Parilly, Angers and then raiding Royal Ascot when at 20/1, springing a little bit of a shock to win the 20 runner Albany Stakes (Group 3). She then took a break of almost two months until she was seen finishing third in the G1 Prix Morny at Deauville, losing out only to two fine Karl Burke trained two-year-olds Unfortunately and Havana Grey. Her last start of the season came in the Cheveley Park when she went down just a length and a quarter to now stablemate, Clemmie. It seems that Different League acts on all kinds of ground and has won over two distances, and I'm pretty sure Aidan will carry on to push those boundaries and hopefully see her develop into a top Group/Grade 1 class miler. 

5) THE PENTAGON (Galileo x Vadawina)

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Last season's Tyros Stakes winner at Leopardstown over 7f and G1 Racing Post Trophy third, The Pentagon is a colt I'm excited to see this season up in trip. He drifted like nobody's business on Racing Post Trophy day when he was beaten by a much better Saxon  Warrior, but it's worth noting he wasn't really beaten all that far and he's the one who is going to have a lot more options at 3. I think this son of Galileo is stamina laden and is made for middle distances, and I think you'll see him take in some Derby trials before having a crack at Epsom himself for sure along with Amedeo Modigliani, but I genuinely think his long-term target is going to be the St. Leger at Doncaster, the final classic, over 1m6f and that is where you will see just how much stamina I think this guy possesses. 

That is it for my Ballydoyle horses to follow this season. Hopefully my selections are less obvious than maybe the horses you were expected and are under the radar to yourselves. All these selections have been added to my tracker's and hopefully you do the same. I will continue to update the form figures as the season goes on and hopefully I'll have a list that has proved to be very successful come the Autumn. Thank you all for taking your time to read. 

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