Turf Talk: Pinatubo a good bet for 2,000 Guineas
Harrogate Advertiser horseracing correspondent Jeff Garlick's latest weekly column.
A great sports quiz question in future years will be, “Where did live UK sport first resume after the Coronavirus lockdown in 2020”?
Well, the answer is Newcastle Racecourse on June 1.
But this is not racing as we know and love it. Only the bare minimum amount of people are allowed in, temperatures are taken at regular intervals and masks are worn by all jockeys.
Everyone has to adhere to 33 pages of protocols and guidelines, but adhere they do and the sport of racing is back up and running.
With it being 76 days since the last live racing there is no real form to go on. Anyone placing a bet is trusting in the expertise of the trainer to get their horses fit.
So, a good guide before parting with your money is to keep an eye on those stables that have been quick out of the blocks this week in terms of winners.
The first major sporting event after the lockdown (another good quiz question) will be the first Classic race of the year, the Qipco 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket.
This event is usually run in the first week in May following lots of trial races. This year the only form we have is from the 2019 two-year-old season, and a lot can happen to a colt between two and three years old.
On all known juvenile form the horse to beat is Pinatubo. He won all his six races in 2019 including the Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Vintage Stakes at Glorious Goodwood.
But the performance that catapulted him into the superstar bracket was his win in the Vintage Stakes at the Curragh in Ireland.
That day he annihilated two of Aiden O’Brien’s best youngsters by nine lengths, a performance that drew comparisons with the mighty Frankel.
Pinatubo is very hard to oppose on Saturday, though the odds will not be brilliant.
Major Jumbo could give the North another success in the sprint race, the Palace House Stakes.
Mabs Cross has won the race for the last two years for Michael Dods with Major Jumbo third to her last year. Hopefully he can improve two places and win on Saturday.
Newmarket also stages the first Classic race for fillies on Sunday, the Qipco 1,000 Guineas.
Good luck picking the winner of this as fillies change even more from two to three than colts do.
The bet365 Fillies mile at Newmarket last October could hold the key to this race. Quadrilateral maintained her unbeaten record that day with the O’Brien trained Love back in third.
But there has been significant money for Love in the last few days and the Irish Maestro has a great record in this race. Both these factors point me towards Love as the selection.
The Brigadier Gerard Stakes is usually run at Sandown in May but switches to Haydock on Sunday.
With Frankel as his dad and Attraction as his mother there is no better-bred horse in the line-up than Elarqam.
Jockey Dane O’Neil is unbeaten on this colt and with the Mark Johnston yard turning out early winners he looks the best bet in the race.
After the starvation of racing from our screens there is a feast of 21 races on ITV racing over the weekend with seven races on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
All the selections shown below are in televised races, with the programmes being presented by Ed Chamberlin direct from his back bedroom! What strange times we live in.
Garlick’s Goodies: Major Jumbo – Saturday 1:50 Newmarket, Pinatubo - Saturday 3:35 Newmarket, Elarqam - Sunday 2:40 Haydock , Love - Sunday 3:35 Newmarket.