Horse Betting: Deserving Guineas favourite
I speak as a signed-up believer in and money-down backer of Camelot
In a classic weekend at Newmarket, Jamie Lynch and just about every other horse race commentator has eyes for one horse only...but will it come through?
At least we know the right place to start for the Guineas, as there's one horse above all others which, after the weekend, could be heralded as the next big thing...the same horse that many of us are convinced already is the next big thing, even after just the two runs.
Those two runs resulted in two striking wins and a big Timeform rating, not quite enough for top spot going into the 18-runner Guineas, though the feeling is the horse was the best we saw in its division and would have swept the board as a two-year-old granted greater exposure than just a couple of tantalising appearances. The lid has been kept on Pandora's box in preparation for the classic campaign when it really matters.
The debut win in a maiden in the summer was a case of formative first, there to learn, but even then looking something out of the ordinary, and inevitably it was straight up to Group company for the next assignment, meaningful for the selected race, being one connections have tended to target with their best. Strong as favourite, the performance delivered all and more of what was seemingly expected, making short work of a field that included two previous listed winners, winning easily as it was but leaving the impression there was another gear to go and looking every inch a Guineas horse back then - and here we are on the first weekend in May.
It's no certainty, of course, because this is a classic we're dealing with and the competition is much stiffer, and then there's the combined unknowns of the ground and track, as conditions will be very different to what was encountered in the two races last year, while the Rowley Mile's undulations have caught out many newcomers to the course in the past. Let's not overlook the pressure on the rider who, though clearly talented, is still very young for all this and will be having his first ever experience of this particular classic. Some have suggested, including the trainer himself, that the horse may ideally want the longer trip of Epsom than the mile at Newmarket, but not from what I've seen.
Representing one of the powerhouses of world racing, for a trainer with a high strike rate in classics in both Britain and Ireland, this prospective superstar of a three-year-old has everything you're looking for in a would-be Guineas winner, from the undefeated record and impeccable breeding to the imposing physique and sky-high potential. And the best bit of all is: you can still back her at as big as 10.5 for Sunday's race.
Discourse may turn out to be Andre Villas-Boas to Camelot's Mourinho, but the point I've tried to make is that, other than being four times the price, there isn't that much difference in their standing, both in personal terms and in context of the respective races.
Search out a replay of the Sweet Solera at Newmarket and see if you think, as I absolutely do, that Discourse looks the real deal, as good as any filly her age, Maybe included. What has changed since last year? Well, reflected in the market, the spring trials across Europe have thrown up M&M's, namely Moonstone Magic who came from nowhere and Mashoora who's coming from France, but unless the ground is really bad I can't have Moonstone Magic in this league, and on formlines through Kinetica and Rajastani, Mashoora is several lengths behind Discourse.
That was then and this is now, they're race-fit and Discourse isn't, not to ignore the mixed reports about her working preparation. (While we're on it, in racing, whenever somebody uses the word 'mixed' they generally mean 'bad', as in mixed reports, mixed messages, mixed record and a mixed day's betting). However, it's worth remembering that Discourse's homework might have always been mixed, given she was let go off at 29.63 for her debut, when she beat Gamilati no less, under the mixed driving of Ahmed no less.
As for the 2000, we're all getting a bit bogged down in what price everything should be, when it's virtually impossible to calculate what price everything should be, not only because of the traditional Guineas guessing game - developing horses and differing formlines - but also as the puzzle is compounded further this year courtesy of the soft ground, which very few of the field have faced let alone handled. The 'Camelot is a ridiculous price' brigade, out in force for the last month, must feel vindicated by his recent drift, but at what point does a ridiculous price become a fair price and then a good price?
I speak as a signed-up believer in and money-down backer of Camelot, but there's no mileage in his price, certainly not considering the questions he still has to answer on Saturday. More to the point, and back to the point, why bet on Camelot at skinny odds when you can get stuck into the female version at 11.0?