Betting: Air Force can scoop gold but Galileo looks good for silver

 
Bill Esdaile
Follow Bill
Newmarket Races
Air Force Blue is “the best juvenile” Aidan O’Brien has trained (Source: Getty)

Even though the National Hunt season only finished last weekend, we’re already facing the first Classics of the Flat campaign.

It’s funny how things cross-over at this time of year, but Newmarket’s Guineas meeting is always one of the early highlights.

Aidan O’Brien has spent his career re-writing the history books and he will do so again on Saturday if he lands the QIPCO 2,000 Guineas (3.45pm).

In just 18 years he has won this iconic race seven times, a feat matched only by John Scott who trained his first Guineas winner in 1842.

And he looks to have the perfect animal to go to war with in his quest for number eight, as AIR FORCE BLUE is the highest-rated favourite since the mighty Frankel in 2011.

Unlike Sir Henry Cecil’s superstar, he has tasted defeat, when beaten by one of tomorrow’s rivals, Buratino, in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Since then, however, he has proven to be absolutely top class and ran away with the Dewhurst at this course last October.

Regular readers will hopefully have followed my advice to back Air Force Blue at 16/1 for this race back in July, as he is now 8/13 with Betway.

He looks like the archetypal Guineas banker and it would be a huge shock if he gets turned over.

There is a strong without Air Force Blue market and I’m happy to leave Stormy Antarctic alone at around the 5/2 mark.

He was impressive in the Craven last time, and his chance will improve if the ground turns soft, but he may just have been flattered a little that day.

Marcel was a decent winner of the Group One Racing Post Trophy last season. Pat Smullen takes the ride and he looks to have solid each-way claims.

However, with Hugo Palmer’s string in fine form, I’m leaning towards GALILEO GOLD picking up the silver medal.

He won three of his five starts last term and ran a solid race to finish third at Longchamp on Arc day on his final start.

Palmer wouldn’t be running him if he wasn’t showing him the right signs at home and he looks a good bet at 6/1 without the favourite.

Jack Hobbs is going to be a tough nut to crack in the Jockey Club Stakes (3.05pm), so I’ll give that race a miss and focus on the opening Sussex Stakes (2.00pm) instead.

Sir Michael Stoute last won this race in 2009 with Confront and the in-form Newmarket handler throws two darts at this year’s renewal.

Intimation is sure to be popular with her fancy entries, but it’s hard for the fillies to take on the boys at this time of year.

MUTAMAKKIN is one of few in the line-up to have had a prep run, finishing third behind runaway winner Accession over seven furlongs on the Rowley Mile a couple of weeks ago.

That was a good effort, as the step up in trip is sure to suit and this is only his second start since being gelded. There should be plenty of improvement to come.

Finally, don’t miss LINCOLN in the seven furlong handicap at Goodwood (2.50pm).

His wide draw isn’t ideal, but he’s down to a very competitive mark and had no luck in running at Haydock last weekend.

POINTERS

Mutamakkin e/w 2.00pm

Newmarket

Lincoln e/w 2.50pm

Goodwood

Air Force Blue 3.45pm

(already advised 16/1) Newmarket

Galileo Gold 3.45pm

(without Air Force Blue) Newmarket