2,000 Guineas selection: Wembley (9/2)

We now have runners, riders, likely going and the draw for Saturday’s 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket, which kicks off the flat season proper. All the main protagonists have received fairly favourable draws except Master Of The Seas (2), so there’s not too much to say there unless you fancy the Godolphin colt. I quite like his chance as he did it the hard way in the Craven Stakes and Dubawi’s are generally better at three than two. It wouldn’t be a shock if either he or Godolphin’s other runner, One Ruler, won, but others have better chances.

On balance, I was pretty happy Dewhurst winner St Mark’s Basilica was withdrawn at final declarations as I had no intention of siding with him beyond a saver, but he was one of the likeliest winners on 2yo form – not to mention him being a half-brother to 2019 winner Magna Grecia. That leaves Thunder Moon and Wembley to represent what is the best of the juvenile form from the National and Dewhurst Stakes, and I’m firmly in the WEMBLEY camp given he’s the Ballydoyle number one and the only runner by the mighty Galileo. Thunder Moon travelled like a dream in the Dewhurst but didn’t get home on the soft ground and I’m struggling to think of a horse by Zoffany that made a mark in any of the Classics at three. Thunder Moon wasn’t the biggest juvenile, so at a similar price I’d much rather side with the scopier Wembley. Wembley has a nice draw in eight and won’t mind whatever ground he gets, so I’m placing my faith in Aidan O’Brien. I don’t really have any issues with taking 9/2 about this dominant yard’s first string in a Classic he farms.

I fancy having two in the race and there are plenty of options. Mutaasabeq’s chance is hard to weigh up but gut feeling says he’s priced conservatively at 6/1, given he’s got such little experience and none at Group One level. That said, he wouldn’t have to drift much to be a bet as I liked what I saw last time out. I’m of the opinion that Chindit would be a 6/1 shot should this be raced on good-to-firm ground at Ascot or one of the flat tracks like Newbury or York. I like everything about him as a miler as he’s got lots of pace, travels smoothly and finds plenty for pressure. He knows his job and Pat Dobbs rides him beautifully – on the four times he has won his biggest winning distance is a length and three quarters, passing whatever is put in front of him with perfect timing. The big negative is his Dewhurst flop where there were two obvious excuses: he either didn’t handle the undulations and/or the borderline heavy going. The latter seems certain but the former is still up for debate and I’m glad Richard Hannon is giving Newmarket another go. He’s drawn near the favoured stand-side rail near the likely pace and looks like he’ll get his ideal good-to-firm conditions as well, so by my own logic the only real question is what are the chances of him not handling the track? I share the market’s doubts and make it about a 2/1 chance that Newmarket is no issue, which makes him about a 20/1 shot overall (2/1 and 6/1 in a double is 20/1). He looks a likely drifter to me so keep an eye on the exchanges for anything north of 20/1, which would be my idea of good value. If he does drift I’ll put him up.

2pts win Wembley @9/2, 15:40 Newmarket, Saturday

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