The panel give their thoughts on an informative week
What did you make of the Greenham and did we see a Classic winner?
Richard Brown, bloodstock agent I was very impressed by Barney Roy – I loved the way he was going away again at the end. In my mind, the 2,000 Guineas is between him and Churchill. Dream Castle ended up on his own with no cover. If there had been a strong pace in the race and he could have sat behind a pacemaker, I’m sure he would have settled better. He’s still a very talented horse.
James Doyle, jockey It was a very good trial and run at a strong tempo. Richard Hannon has done a lot of work keeping him relaxed, which was why mid-race he was a bit asleep when the pace quickened. Once he got a couple of taps he really found his stride. I thought there was a bit of brilliance about him and he has to be in the mix.
Sally Ann Grassick, ITV Racing presenter Barney Roy was really impressive. Dream Castle would have been a good winner, so to see Barney Roy come back and beat him was something. He really put his head down and went after him, which was especially good for a horse so inexperienced. I liked the way he won. James Doyle said he thinks the horse will stay further, and I’d definitely put him in the Guineas mix.
Tim Smith The front two are clearly useful and even third-home Zainhom, who supposedly missed some work, caught the eye for much of the race, but Barney Roy (right) looks the only one with Classic aspirations. I’d fancy Dream Castle in the Commonwealth Cup if he goes sprinting, but the trainer wants to go up in trip rather than down.
Ryan Tate, jockey The Godolphin horses who were first and second – Barney Roy and Dream Castle – look decent prospects. Barney Roy looks like he will appreciate the mile, while Saeed Bin Suroor’s runner Dream Castle will have to settle better to get it. Both are capable of running big races in the 2,000 Guineas, though.
Is the Queen's maiden winner Call To Mind a potential Derby horse?
Richard Brown I had lunch with William Haggas on Saturday and he was very keen on both horses he ran for the Queen. It’s amazing she had a winner and was there to see it. She’s the greatest ambassador British racing has had. Anyone with a slight interest would love to see her win a Derby. Who knows whether he’s good enough, but he’s done nothing wrong so far.
James Doyle He could do no more than win and it looked like the further he was going the better. To mention the Derby at this stage is probably a little premature but he is in the right hands with William Haggas.
Sally Ann Grassick It was a gutsy win and a good performance first time out. It would be great for connections to have a live Derby contender – very exciting – but I’d like to see more first, and perhaps it’s a bit early for that. In terms of Classic colts I think we’ve seen more exciting performances from Barney Roy and Eminent.
Tim Smith No. There’s no doubt that’s the dream given the Queen owns him but, having been buzzed up to give her a birthday winner, he made hard work of it and he wouldn’t be on my Derby shortlist. He clearly wants a trip but the Classic is surely too much too soon, so perhaps the King Edward VII is a more plausible target.
Ryan Tate It looked like a strongly run race, suggesting there’s improvement to find when he is upped in trip. However, much more is needed to warrant a Derby run.
What did you think of Shutter Speed's victory at Newbury on Friday?
Richard Brown Very impressive. She’s a big-striding filly and it didn’t look like a mile and a half would be a problem. She looks tailor-made for something like the Musidora. You couldn’t help but be impressed by that performance.
James Doyle It was a solid performance. The second is rated 110 and was fourth in the Racing Post Trophy, so to beat him with a degree of ease makes you sit up and take note. John Gosden’s horse are on fire at the moment. I think she goes to the Musidora and we will have more of an idea after that.
Sally Ann Grassick She did it nicely and John Gosden has his fillies bang on. They’re ready to go and he’s got such a nice bunch. Shutter Speed won easily and I’m looking forward to seeing her again.
Tim Smith Pre-race vibes were that she is the pick of an enviable band of Gosden fillies and the bubble remains fully inflated after that display, but she is never going to be a price given her reputation. Stablemate Enable ran a very encouraging third under an educational ride and she might be more profitable to follow.
Ryan Tate She looks a horse with a great deal of potential and is sure to excel being with John Gosden.
How do you rate Craven winner Eminent's prospects in the Guineas?
Richard Brown I’d have him behind Barney Roy. Eminent might end up being better over further. He’s a big-striding rangy horse who is still relatively unfurnished. The Greenham winner looked speedier to me.
James Doyle The Craven was run at a strong tempo and he looked a real grinder, one who would stay a trip. He will run well but could just lack the tactical speed that is required in a Guineas, although he will certainly be finishing off well up the hill.
Sally Ann Grassick I was doing the walk-back interviews for ITV and the speed he went by me at the finish . . . he was only getting into his stride at the line. Jim Crowley told me it’s never taken him so long to pull a horse up on the Rowley Mile. Longer trips might be for him later in the year, but Eminent and Barney Roy would be the two I’m most excited about seeing in the Guineas.
Tim Smith As a cold-hearted bookie I try not to get emotionally involved with horses these days, but he is a real beauty and I’m fully booked for both the Guineas and the Derby! The nagging concern is he might prove best at ten furlongs, thus scuppering both bets, but his final-furlong surge in the Craven was a joy to behold and there must be plenty more to come.
Ryan Tate He’s lightly raced but seems sure to continue improving with experience and at this stage looks a major player.
How high in your 1,000 Guineas pecking order is Nell Gwyn winner Daban?
Richard Brown It looks a good trial on paper, so she should be there or thereabouts. John Gosden had done fairly easy work with her and she should come on for the run and the experience. She handled the course and quickened up nicely, but was keen early after stumbling coming out of the stalls. I think she’ll be a much better filly next time out, but Rhododendron looks potentially exceptional.
James Doyle I finished second in the race on a decent filly. Daban (below)beat me three-quarters of a length and I
think there will still be more required
to tackle Rhododendron. Still, it was only her second start so you have to expect improvement from that run.
Sally Ann Grassick She was another to impress me and I think she should go for the 1,000 Guineas, with stablemate Dabyah, who won the Fred Darling, being sent for the French version, especially as each of them has form on the tracks. John Gosden was non-committal as to where they’d go, but Daban would be a contender for the 1,000 Guineas given the way she handled the Newmarket track.
Tim Smith Lower than she is in price order. The rumour is that Dabyah is better at home, but that one seems to be heading to France. It does look like a thin year but if Daban isn’t the best female three-year-old miler in her house, can she really be the best female three-year-old miler in the land?
Ryan Tate She showed a great attitude to win and is another relatively inexperienced horse. I expect her to be a real player in the 1,000 Guineas.
Which other horses have caught the eye in the first few weeks of the turf season?
Richard Brown Crystal Ocean, who won a maiden at Nottingham on Saturday night for Sir Michael Stoute. I thought he was very impressive. He has a phenomenal pedigree and I’m a huge fan of Sea The Stars – he’s a very good stallion and this colt is in the very best of hands.
James Doyle Stradivarius, a horse of John Gosden’s, probably went under the radar winning at Beverley during the week, but it looked quite a strong race which he won by six lengths. I thought it was quite eyecatching. He is by Sea The Stars and will stay another couple of furlongs, so it will be interesting to see where he turns up next.
Sally Ann Grassick Al Wukair, who won the Prix Djebel. He was impressive and Andre Fabre’s horses are never bang on first time out. He didn’t do much last year – he won a Listed race at the end of the season – but I liked the way he came out to win like that, stepping up in class and beating a Group 1 winner in National Defense. He could be exciting and Fabre’s horses seem in good form.
Tim Smith Mark Of Approval and Fastnet Tempest went into plenty of notebooks after their efforts in the Wood Ditton and the Spring Cup respectively, but they didn’t exactly creep under the radar. Zainhom’s effort in the Greenham was rightly overshadowed by the front pair, but he looks like a typical Stoute slow-burner and he can win a decent mile race this year.
Ryan Tate Chagatai, a two-year-old of Clive Cox’s who won at Bath on Good Friday – and he did that despite not getting the run of the race. He’s a juvenile to follow for the future.