THERE are five British classics in the flat season and in the three previous years I have been on this thread I have advised six selections that have returned three winners at 33-1, 33-1 and 25-1.
I also had a third place at 25-1 so I think it’s easy to say the British classics have been pretty good to us.
The first two classics of the season are nearly upon us and are the 1000 & 2000 Guineas from Newmarket. The 2000 Guineas on May 6 sees two of my antepost selections Blue Point, advised at 14-1 but now 25-1, and Churchill – advised at 20-1 and now 6-4 favourite.
I advised Churchill after he finished third on debut and has won all five races since then and as I said last season “he gives me the same feeling as Golden Horn did”.
The manner of his wins last season were quite impressive and were against some decent horses. After his debut defeat he was sent to Ascot where he won the Chesham Stakes (7f) beating 12 rivals on good to soft ground.
He then won a group 3 at Leopardstown, group 2 at the Curragh where his stablemate Lancaster Bomber came last. Lancaster Bomber runs in Saturday's UAE Derby at Meydan so it will be interesting to see how he does as Churchill beat him convincingly three times last year.
Churchill then won the group 1 National Stakes at The Curragh beating Mehmas by over four lengths and rounded off his 2yo campaign winning the group 1 Dewhurst at Newmarket. Aidan O’Brien's son Donnacha O’Brien has come out this week and said Churchill has wintered well and said “he looks an absolute monster” which is good to hear.
Blue Point, my other antepost pick for this race, is looking unlikely to run. If he did run though I'd still like his chances to get a place behind Churchill.
Godolphin's worldwide record is outstanding but in British Classics it’s a mess. Caravaggio is an interesting Aidan O’Brien horse who is unbeaten and is second favourite for this race, Caravaggio and Churchill do have a line through Mehmas and Churchill is quite a bit clear. Connections do like Churchill and my view is Caravaggio won’t get a mile, he could easily win over a mile against other horses but not against Churchill.
Rivet, trained by William Haggas, was impressive last season until coming up against Churchill but did follow that run with a group 1 win in the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster over a mile. It wasn’t the strongest group 1 but a group 1 nonetheless, the one-mile distance did seem to suit him better but he has a lot of ground to make up on Churchill.
War Decree is yet another O’Brien horse and won three of his runs last season and ended with a win in the group 2 Vintage Stakes at Glorious Goodwood, the two previous winners of the Vintage Stakes were Galileo Gold and Highland Reel so he does have some big shoes to fill.
With a line through Thunder Snow, War Decree does have the advantage over Rivet so can’t be discounted for a place. He will have a decent season but again I really can’t see him being good enough to beat Churchill.
In all honesty if anything is going to beat Churchill they are going to have to improve massively especially with the news Churchill looks a monster.
I really can’t see anything but a win for Churchill and yet another big-priced antepost success.
Churchill 20-1 (now 6-4)
12:00 Pontefract - Race: 1
12:10 Windsor - Race: 1
12:20 Hexham - Race: 1