One World is hard to oppose in the Winter Guineas at Kenilworth tomorrow even though there are grounds for thinking he is not such a certainty as his prohibitive 11-20 price would suggest. On the plus side he has only been beaten once in seven starts – when third in the Cape Guineas – and on ratings he has a theoretical six lengths in hand.
However more recent form book evidence puts his advantage at considerably less than this, at less than two lengths in fact. In the CTS 1600 three months ago he had Vardy three and three-quarter lengths back third and here he has to concede 2kg. Furthermore he has not raced since whereas his principal rival had a pipe-opener three weeks ago and won it.
But Vaughan Marshall, who surprisingly has not won the Winter Guineas this century, has not got where he is today by running his horses a couple of gallops short and Anton Marcus has won on three of his last four rides in this race. The stats also favour the favourite. While the last two market leaders failed to make the frame, five of the previous six came home in front.
Vardy (9-2) is on the upgrade. He was raised ten points for his CTS performance and a further two for last time’s handicap top weight success. In other words he is closer to the favourite than Met day running would suggest. “I think he has improved,” said Anton’s brother Basil yesterday as he fielded calls while son Adam was at the sales. “He is maturing, and also learning more about it, with each run. He has a tough competitor – in fact a couple of them – but his prep has gone very well and we are holding thumbs.”
Herodotus (8-1) is presumably the other one he had in mind. S’Manga Khumalo’s mount has only once finished out of the first four in seven starts, his trainer Glen Kotzen won this with Irish Assembly in 2005 but he was five lengths behind One World in the Concorde and is only 2kg better.
The Bass stable has won this race eight times in the last 21 runnings and Majestic Mozart (who has drifted from 8-1 to 12-1) probably has the strongest claims of Candice’s three. Rider Bernard Fayd’Herbe is bidding for his fourth Winter Guineas and, although over six lengths behind One World in the CTS, his mount was only two and a half lengths behind him in the Cape Guineas – and he is 2kg better.
Helen’s Ideal has a favourite’s chance in the Sweet Chestnut Stakes and looks a decent bet at 33-10 despite her 11 draw. “That is a concern,” acknowledged Paul Reeves yesterday. “Obviously we have to try and get her over as quickly as possible but Bernard is more than capable of getting her in the right place. As long as he can have her relatively handy I will be pleased.
“This 1 400 is not a problem although she will be even better over 1 600m. We dropped her to 1 200m last time to sharpen her up but she has natural gate speed and she can turn it on. She has come on heaps since that last run, she is in top form and I don’t think I could have got her any better.”
By Michael Clower