THERE are very few trainers that command such high respect as the French master handler Andre Fabre. He has trained an astonishing seven winners of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and has also been hugely successful on his forays across the English Channel.
A winner of tomorrow’s QIPCO 2,000 Guineas (3.45pm) twice, both of those victories came in the Nineties. His last runner in the opening Classic of the season was Massalani way back in 2002.
So it’s of huge interest that he has supplemented the Godolphin-owned TERRITORIES for tomorrow’s race and I’m hoping we see another famous Mickael Barzalona celebration, just like the one when Pour Moi won the Investec Derby in 2011.
Territories won the Group Three Prix de Fontainebleau at Longchamp on his seasonal reappearance in striking fashion. In truth, he probably didn’t have to beat much that day, but it was the way he did it that was so impressive.
His form as a two-year-old was also top class, finishing a close second in the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere on Arc day after tomorrow’s favourite Gleneagles was disqualified for interference.
The son of Invincible Spirit will get the decent ground he clearly loves and he has a perfect draw in stall 19 with the stalls positioned against the stands rail this year – hopefully to avoid a repeat of last year’s fiasco when the field split in two.
I always sit up and take notice when Fabre sends one over here for a big race and Territories looks a great bet at 6/1 with Betway.
Ballydoyle are always to be feared in any UK Group One, but their horses tend to be trained for longevity over the season. Gleneagles is short enough at 5/2, while Ol’ Man River is now as low as 5/1 and I fear he will get tapped for toe over a mile on quick ground.
Richard Hannon won this with 40/1 outsider Night Of Thunder 12 months ago and he has four bullets to fire this time around with Estidhkaar, Ivawood, Kool Kompany and Moheet.
Estidhkaar looks the most solid option after his decent second in the Greenham, but I’m slightly worried about his draw in stall six as he could be trapped out wide.
The other Sheikh Hamdan horse Intilaaq is interesting having also been supplemented for this. He bolted up at Newmarket, but he will have to be a superstar to land this on the back of that maiden win and is just 10/1.
I’m happy to leave Territories as my sole selection in the Guineas, but hopefully we can add to the war chest with HALATION in the opening Suffolk Stakes (2.00pm).
David Simcock’s four-year-old won back-to-back handicaps last summer and ran an eye-catching race when fourth behind Chatez in the Betway Spring Mile at Doncaster.
Top Tug is likely to be well backed, but Sir Michael Stoute’s horses are normally better later in the season, while Frankie Dettori riding All Set To Go for Paul Nicholls is bound to create plenty of market attention.
Sadly, Sole Power won’t attempt to win a third straight Palace House Stakes (2.30pm) so, in his absence, the advice is to go with WATCHABLE.
David O’Meara’s improving sprinter was second to Astaire in the Abernant Stakes here a couple of weeks ago and he is worth trying at the minimum trip.
HALATION e/w 2.00pm Newmarket (tomorrow)
WATCHABLE 2.30pm Newmarket (tomorrow)
TERRITORIES e/w 3.45pm Newmarket (tomorrow)