Joseph O’Brien picks Cristoforo Colombo from Ballydoyle Guineas trio
Aidan O’Brien often arrives mob-handed for the classics and this year’s 2000 Guineas is no exception with Cristoforo Colombo, Mars and George Vancouver forming Ballydoyle’s three-pronged attack on the Rowley Mile. The choice of the stable jockey is often taken to be portentous in such situations, so the news that Joseph O’Brien will ride Cristoforo Colombo – 8/1 in Coral’s 2000 Guineas betting – over his stable-mates can be taken of mark of trust in the horse.
The colt in question – a son of the yard’s dual Guineas winner Henrythenavigator – has failed to deliver victory in four runs since taking a Navan maiden a little over year ago, but produced arguably his best performance in defeat, when going down by a length to Dawn Approach – 11/8 favourite in Coral’s 2000 Guineas betting – in last year’s Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot.
The worth of that performance can be upgraded from the bare form on the basis of his stall six draw in the contest, which saw him racing away from the pace. Of the first seven home the only other runner to break from a single figure draw was Lines Of Battle – who went on to win the UAE Derby – a further three lengths back in sixth.
Given his Coventry Stakes second was his last run on good ground, it’s fair to say that he’ll be a better horse than when four home behind Reckless Abandon in the Group 1 Middle Park on his last outing, evidence supported by his lineage. Sire Henrythenavigator was undefeated in five starts on good-to-firm or better, but never recorded a win on ground softer than good.
An interesting coincidence for fans of such things is that one of Henrythenavigator’s good ground wins came when overhauling New Approach to score by a nose in the 2008 running of the Guineas – the 2013 renewal will see their offspring do battle, with Dawn Approach sired by the latter.
The remaining members of the Ballydoyle triumvirate will be ridden by Seamie Heffernan and Colm O’Donoghue who partner the once-raced 10/1 shot Mars and Grade 1 winning miler George Vancouver 16/1.