Author: Alan Kelly
Published: 16:26 19/04/2015
Qipco 2000 Guineas favourite Gleneagles, available at 3-1 less than a week ago, is now as short as 6-4 with several bookmakers for the first Classic of the season in two weeks time even though the Ballydoyle number one has not left his stable since an uninformative racecourse gallop at the Curragh earlier this month. The reason for the contraction in price of last season's disqualified Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere winner results from a week of inconclusive trials, particularly the Free Handicap flop of Guineas second favourite Faydhan on Wednesday.
A victory for the seemingly exposed Kool Kompany in Thursday's Craven Stakes conspired to muddy the waters even further of the race won by the stable's Night Of Thunder 12 months ago, as Richard Hannon's runner barely caused a ripple in the ante-post market with odds of 25-1 freely available about the son of Jeremy.
It was left to Newbury's Greenham Stakes on Saturday, a contest which produced the 2000 Guineas 1-2 last year, and with the neck winner Muhaarar more likely to head for the French Guineas rather than Newmarket, it is the runner up Estidhkaar who stamped himself as a potential Classic winner and at the 12-1 available with several firms including Betfred and Ladbrokes looks excellent value to give the stable another 2000 Guineas victory following those of Don't Forget Me, Tirol and Night Of Thunder.
The son of Dark Angel attempted to make all in Newbury's Group 3 trial and after being headed by the winner inside the final furlong battled back gamely, giving the impression that the extra distance at headquarters would bring about some improvement, a possibility confirmed by his trainer, who said: " He looks every inch a Guineas horse, and he was coming back at the winner near the line, so you'd have to think that he would improve again going up a furlong."
The winner of two Group 2 contests as a juvenile, Estidhkaar's only disappointing effort came on his final start at two when unable to produce his form on the soft ground of Newmarket's Dewhurst Stakes and is clearly much better than he showed that day. With similar conditions unlikely for the first Saturday in May, Hamdan Al Maktoum's colt looks the most likely to expose any faults in the Aidan O'Brien favourite and at a good ten points bigger is cracking each-way value at odds which are unlikely to be available in two weeks time.
1 Point each-way Estidhkaar 12-1 Betfred