What are the best bets in the 1000 Guineas?
Surprisingly, Aidan O’Brien has only won the 1000 Guineas twice before, with both victories coming with relatively unfancied fillies.
Homecoming Queen (25/1) and Virginia Waters (12/1) were also exposed juveniles who had their prep runs in the 1000 Guineas trial at Leopardstown, which has to be a concern for both his runners this afternoon, Minding and Ballydoyle, who are making their seasonal debuts. Indeed, his record with such horses is poor with Maybe faring the best when third in 2012, with six others failing to find the frame.
That’s not to say either of his runners can’t win and Minding is the clear form horse on her devastatingly impressive victory in the Fillies’ Mile over course and distance in October, with Nathra four and a half lengths behind in second. Prior to that, she had dished out a three-quarter length beating to stablemate Ballydoyle at the Curragh, with that horse also signing off the season with a Group 1 victory in the Prix Marcel Boussac at Longchamp.
It’s hard to knock that form but history tells you that backing an Aidan O’Brien filly first time back in this race is risky. Furthermore, you have to wonder why the stable is running Ballydoyle when the same owners have a filly as good as Minding, who went into the winter as a short-priced favourite for this Classic and is now no bigger than 5/4. Reports coming out of the stable suggest Ballydoyle has been working well and she may be more forward than her better fancied stablemate, who has always been thought as more of an Oaks filly besides. But I won’t be backing either.
With seven of the last ten winners having had the benefit of a run, I’m also inclined to swerve the current second favourite, Lumiere, though her stable won this race with a seasonal debutante in Attraction. But the bookmakers are hardly being generous in offering just 5/1, whereas we can double those odds on the aforementioned NATHRA, who looked much improved for her winter break when landing the Nell Gwyn at HQ 19 days ago. The way she sliced through the field two furlongs out and then quickened again at the furlong pole when her more patiently ridden rivals came at her, was the sign of a top-class horse and there ought to be more to come.
At 10/1 with bet365, who are offering one quarter the odds (rather then the standard fifth), she looks a cracking each-way bet as I’m struggling to see how she doesn’t finish in the frame. For those of you who took my advice and invested at 16/1 before she won the Nell Gwyn, you can pat yourself on the back.
Nathra each-way @ 10/1 bet365 (1/4 odds, 1.2.3)