Day of the underdog: Aidan O’Brien third-string George Vancouver
The Aidan O’Brien trained George Vancouver may have been passed up by stable number one jockey Joseph O’Brien and trusted Lieutenant Seamie Heffernan, but at 16/1 in the 2000 Guineas betting the Ballydoyle third string may have been underestimated by the market and his would-be pilots.
Q: How many Group 1 winning milers are their in this year’s 2000 Guineas betting?
A: One – a colt by the name of George Vancouver
Toronado, his stable-mate Van De Neer and George Vancouver are the only runners in this year’s field to have previously scored over 8f, and Aidan O’Brien’s son of Henrythenavigator is the only one to score over the 2000 Guineas trip at the highest level, doing so when running away with the Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf at the tail end of last season.
His three-and-a-half length third behind Dawn Approach in the Dewhurst on his penultimate run of last season was strong enough form, but the good to soft ground he encountered that day offers hope that he’ll improve for a sounder surface.
He earned his highest official rating to date – only bettered by Toronado and Dawn Approach in the Guineas field – when scoring at Santa Anita on firm ground. The good-to-firm ground currently on offer at HQ could be just the tonic for Colm O’Donoghue’s mount, who has yet to encounter ground better than good on this side of the Atlantic.
If he was proven to need good to firm ground to be seen at his best it would be in keeping with the proclivities oh his Dual Guineas-winning father Henrythenavigator, who was unbeaten on good-to-firm and firm ground. With his dam Versailles Treaty earning a group 1 win and two Group 1 places at 1m and 1m1f (also on firm ground) in America it seems highly that George Vancouver likes his ground the faster the better.