2000 Guineas – Newmarket, Saturday 30th April

Top 4 rated:
1. Air Force Blue
2. Hit It A Bomb
3. Marcel
3. Foundation

On all known form Air Force Blue should win this, as he was very impressive last season culminating with a dominant display in the Dewhurst Stakes here, and Aiden O’Brien was very effusive about the horse in the Racing Post stable tour recently which given his propensity to underplay horses is a big positive.  But at the current odds on - 4/6 best - he offers no value and may even go off bigger on the day (if he touched evens on the day I wouldn't put you off having a point on him to cover the bet on Marcel).  The three Group 1's he took last year clearly mark Air Force Blue as a top class prospect, and if he has progressed as much as Aiden hinted he has then he will be very hard to beat this season.

It appears that second top rated Hit It A Bomb is not going to make it to Newmarket after a couple of minor setbacks, however he should be back in time for Royal Ascot and he is one to follow if he comes back 100%. Emotionless was not without a chance when I first started looking at the race but he has now been announced a non-runner as Charlie Appleby feels he needs more time to come to himself.

Foundation was a tad disappointing behind Stormy Antarctic when odds on favourite in the Craven; however the ground had deteriorated to sloppy due to heavy rain and it was a muddling race with no real pace. Foundation looked the probable winner two out and looks like he'll definitely benefit from both a faster pace and better ground. Saying that Stormy Antarctic travelled brilliantly and accelerated well to win that trial, and if he can replicate that on better ground he is definitely a threat...  however on a line through Johannes Vermeer our selection has the beating of him.

Update:- Marcel is now a generally 10/1 shot so we have definitely got some value already 

Marcel sprung a real surprise when he won the Racing Post Trophy as the 33/1 outsider of the field, but he travelled really well and impressed me with his acceleration from the two furlong mark, he put the race to bed in a matter of strides and looked to win with something in hand. Foundation looked a very unlucky loser as he was trapped behind a wall of horses and had nowhere to go, but it is by no means certain that he would have caught Marcel even with a clear run.  Marcel's sire Lawman won up to 10.5 furlongs and was a multiple Group 1 winner, so he definitely has the class on breeding.  Good gallop reports appear to show that the horse has trained on and he will be ridden by Pat Smullen which is a plus as he has shown the big race temperament required to win a Classic.

At 16/1 he rates as very good value and Peter Chapple-Hyam has shown us before that when he gets a good one he is very adept at preparing them to win big prizes.

Selection:  Marcel 0.5 points each way at 16/1 general