|1pt win Trumpet Major in 15.10 Newmarket at 10/1 (Betfred).||Course-and-distance winner has the best form in the book and is a very solid alternative to the hyped horses.|
|1pt win Spirit Quartz in 15.45 Newmarket at 20/1 (General).||Conditions in his favour and looks to be underestimated.|
|1pt win Tullius in 14.00 Newmarket at 14/1 (General).||Unlucky last start in 2011 and looks to be on a competitive mark; ground no problem|
As a punter, the first decision to make ahead of a bet in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas is whether you are for or against Camelot at skinny prices.
It was a very easy decision for me to make. For all he was impressive in the Racing Post Trophy, the fact is he's beaten eight racehorses in his life - eight horses who have won two races between them in 11 subsequent starts.
Throw in the fact that his sire, Montjeu, is 0-33 with three-year-olds in British and Irish races over a mile or shorter at Listed level and above, and you have to wonder why Ladbrokes are even money.
The fact they are might be a reason why some of you will back him, but for me the Coolmore hype-machine has been working overtime with this one.
I'm not saying he can't win, I would be a fool to given the visual impression he made at Doncaster, but he can win the Guineas as far as he likes without my money on him at prices ranging from evens to 2/1.
If you take him out of your thoughts there has to be value in the race and after much deliberation I cannot get away from the obvious claims TRUMPET MAJOR has at 10/1.
Richard Hannon's horse was arguably the horse to take out of the Dewhurst Stakes last season as he suffered interference, was left with loads to do, yet flashed home out wide for fifth under Johnny Murtagh.
His juvenile campaign had already been a good one - he won the Champagne Stakes on his previous start - yet the impression he made at two was improved upon on his sole start at three, in the Craven Stakes.
Giving 3lbs to the rest of the field due to his Champagne win, he pulverised them by five lengths, coping best of all with The Dip and the rain-softened ground.
The mile was also undoubtedly a major factor in his improvement as he was pulling further clear at the line and while some of his rivals have to prove themselves at the trip his stamina is assured.
Drawn next to the stands' rail in 18, he should get a good tow into the race from the likes of Power, while it wouldn't surprise me to see stablemate Redact (from stall 13) act as a target for our selection.
I think he's a rock-solid 10/1 chance and much prefer him out of all the market leaders.
Without going into too much detail about why I doubt his rivals, I think Power could struggle at this trip on this ground, I'm not convinced by the Prix Djebel form (French Fifteen, Abtaal, Hermival) and Top Offer will have to be a machine to defy such inexperience.
The one I fear is Born To Sea, as he's impeccably bred being a half-brother to Galileo and Sea The Stars while he showed smart form himself in two starts at two, especially when you consider he returned lame when beaten by Nephrite.
John Oxx is a master trainer and doesn't send them over if he doesn't think they are up to the job, but at 9/1 the bookies are pricing him up on potential.
He may be good enough, but I'd rather back Trumpet Major at 10s as we already know he's not far off the required standard.
The supporting card is a good one and I like the look of SPIRIT QUARTZ at 20/1 in the Pearl Bloodstock Palace House Stakes.
This Italian import was gelded before his first run for Robert Cowell and I've watched his first two runs for his new yard with interest at Lingfield and Naas.
He was second on both occassions but I felt the race wasn't run to suit last time when they went a moderate pace for a sprint with Santo Padre brushing him aside in the closing stages.
There's plenty in this line-up to give him a lead and Jim Crowley can get him enough cover in the big field which will help him too.
Crucially, the soft ground will also play to his strengths and though it's a competitive renewal I think he's been underestimated at 20s with so much in his favour.
Finally, I like the look of Andrew Balding's TULLIUS in the opening Makfi Suffolk Stakes.
He was unlucky on his final start last campaign at Pontefract when he was only beaten a neck despite being short of room and taking a couple of bumps.
Up just 3lbs, he looks competitive off his current mark and should have no problem with the ground.