Jamie Spencer casts his eye over Guineas weekend in his latest blog
The QIPCO 2000 Guineas favourite Kingman is clearly a brilliant racehorse but the one concern I have is that horses that come back from an injury are usually very fit first time up as injuries can sometimes reoccur when horses get tired so trainers take no chances. He certainly looked very straight in the parade ring at Newbury and raced the whole way to the line like a horse that was really ready for it. I find it hard to see him improving from Newbury. He might not need to improve but I think what we saw at Newbury that’s him. I rode against him in the Greenham and he did quicken astonishingly. He just took off, but it may be different if they go an end to end gallop at Newmarket and it becomes more of a grinding pace. You can’t knock him though. He’s unbeaten and he definitely has star potential.
When Toormore ran in the Craven he looked big, and he was yawning going round the parade ring. He’s one that is going to come forward for the run. The Ballydoyle vibes are very strong about Australia and they don’t often get it wrong. I think he could be the one. My horse The Grey Gatsby always races handily but will have to step up chunks and it might be one of those race where there might not be a whole pile of pace but I would say Australia won’t be too far away from the lead. I think Joseph will just be handy away on him and see where it takes him. It’s a really interesting race. Look at Outstrip, he’s won a Breeders Cup Juvenile and he’s an outsider. That shows you the depth of the race. It will be a great spectacle.
I ride Pearl Secret in the Pearl Bloodstock Palace House Stakes (2.40pm Newmarket) and he will be very hard to beat. He’s a very, very fast horse, one of the fastest I’ve ever ridden. The only worry is that he’ll be going at his fastest going down into the dip which can be tricky, and at Newmarket if it’s wind assisted it’s sometimes hard to catch the leaders and my horse is a proper hold up horse. He’s very fast and it’s just a case of keeping a lid on him to the two furlong pole. He got beaten in the Nunthorpe as a three year old and nothing went right and you can draw a line through that. Then last year he ran first time up in the King’s Stand and finished third so if he’d had a prep you’d like to think he’d have been a good bit closer. With a decent prep behind him this time you’d think everything’s in place for him. The ground wouldn’t be a worry for me and I think he’ll be very hard to beat. He’ll be even better suited to a better, more strongly run race than a small field conditions race and I’m really looking forward to him. Hopefully the race will shape up and it will be a clean race and he’ll get the run.
I ride Stand My Ground for David O’Meara in the Qatar Racing Suffolk Stakes (2.05pm Newmarket) and he ran very well in the Spring Mile but he’ll have to step up from that. I think Roger Varian’s Farraaj will go well off his mark. He ran really well in the Winter Derby and was very unlucky that day.
I ride the Mrs Fitri Hay owned Meritocracy in the Harbour Watch At Tweenhills Handicap (4.25pm Newmarket) and it’s a race where there are plenty in with a chance, and some very unexposed types. I think Roger Charlton’s Stars Above Me is the one we all have to beat.
On Sunday the QIPCO 1000 Guineas looks a very open race. I ride Kiyoshi and I genuinely believe I have a good chance as long as the ground isn’t too firm. She likes good ground really. She doesn’t want extremes. We’ve had a little bit of rain and if we get a bit more I think Kiyoshi is way overpriced. When she ran in Ireland she’d had a break after Royal Ascot and she quickened to the front, then did her usual thing and hung to the right and she just lost the race through that and not having had a run for three months. Rizeena, the favourite for the 1000 Guineas, beat her that day but I thought on another day my filly would have beaten her. Kiyoshi has been for a racecourse gallop, and I went and rode her last week and she’s very, very well so I’m really looking forward to riding her.
I think Ihtimal, the filly that Kiyoshi beat in her maiden win at Goodwood last year, was very impressive in Dubai. If it doesn’t rain and the ground is fast, I think she has an obvious chance. She stays really well which you need in the Guineas. The form is in the book for Clive’s filly Rizeena and she’s been second in a Fillies Mile so you know she is going to get the trip. But Ifraaj (her sire) doesn’t have a great training-on record with his offspring from two to three which is one concern.