After a great week at Punchestown, our attentions now fully turn to the flat and the Newmarket Guineas Festival.
Air Force Blue has been all the rage throughout the winter and is one of 13 declared for the Newmarket showpiece at 3:45pm. Aidan O'Brien's charge has been backed as though defeat is out of the question and StanJames.com are top priced 4/5 last year's champion 2yo can claim the first Classic of the season. Stormy Antarctic is next best in the market at 6/1 having won the Craven on his seasonal bow but the last horse to complete the Craven/Guineas double was Haafhd in 2003. Betting-wise it looks very much an each way race and Buratino at a standout 14/1 looks a very good punt as bearing in mind he is the only horse to have beaten the favourite!
Two previous Classic winners take each other on in the Jockey Club Stakes at 3:05pm in the form of Simple Verse and Jack Hobbs. John Gosden's charge is 8/15 which looks skinny enough bearing in mind he'll have bigger objectives later in the year so I'm going to take a chance with Big Orange who ran a cracker in Dubai last time and will strip fitter for that outing. He looks overpriced at 12/1.
The speedsters will be scorching the Rowley Mile in the Palace House Stakes at 2:30pm and StanJames.com will be top price all runners from 10am. Sole Power, at 6/1, has won the race twice before but hasn't looked quite the same horse recently so I'm going to give Cotai Glory a chance. He's relatively lightly-raced and despite looking tricky on occasions, could be one to catch first time out at 8/1 under George Baker.
Tomorrow sees the fillies strut their stuff in the 1000 Guineas at 3:40pm and this race looks much more competitive than the male equivalent. Richard Hannon broke the news on his exclusive StanJames.com blog that Pat Smullen will ride Illuminate (16/1) but the ground could be plenty testing enough for her unlike Nathra who was very impressive in the Nell Gwynn and with that run under her belt, 9/1 looks a very generous price with conditions also in her favour. That said, Minding (11/8) and Ballydoyle (11/2) have reportedly been working very well and add further spice to what is an intriguing race.
The G2 Dahlia Stakes is off at 2:25pm and Andre Fabre's Usherette has a very progressive profile and looks extremely interesting each way at 33/1 but might struggle against the likes of Jazzi Top who undoubtedly brings the best form to the table and is the likely winner at 10/11 with StanJames.com
All of the above is live on Channel 4 and we'll be paying 1/4 of the odds each way on every race screened on terrestrial TV.
View from the trading room on Saturday's live races
200 - New - Intimation can continue the good run for 4 year old improvers for Sir Michael Stoute before going on to listed and group races
215 - Good - Carnachy can make the leap from handicaps in to listed class here for David Simcock
230 - New - In a very open renewal with 22 runners going to post the pin goes in Cotai Glory
250 Good - Sinfonietta can win again under Kieran Fallon for inform trainer David Menuisier
305 - New - Jack Hobbs should be up to dismissing these types before stepping back up to Group 1 class
345 - New - Marcel has good each way claims to grab the first classic of the season for top irish pilot Pat Smullen