BANKERS OR BLOWOUTS? Racing Post tipping experts assess the prospects of ten of the potentially most popular choices in this year's competition.
Graham Dench (Senior analyst) Blowout She looks streets ahead of our best sprinters and could clean up while she's here, but she has only a small window in which to make her mark and if she is not 100 per cent for any reason when due to travel she might not come at all. I wouldn't be fancying her against Frankel either.
Paul Kealy (Betting editor) Banker We might not see much of her, but she is head and shoulders above any other sprinter in the world and will be odds-on to land the Diamond Jubilee Stakes and July Cup. Hay List, a horse she toys with back home, is considered better than the likes of Choisir and Miss Andretti, so Black Caviar is in a different league. Kevin Morley (Watching the trainers) Banker It seems likely that Australia's superstar mare will travel to Britain to tackle the Diamond Jubilee and July Cup - both bonus races - and there'll be no stopping her in those. There's talk of staying over for the Sussex Stakes, which is another bonus contest, but that seems unlikely so she's one for now rather than the bonus window. Nick Watts (Ante-post focus) Blowout Her one definite scoring target during the competition is the Diamond Jubilee which she could well win.
However, she has to in order to justify her place in your list, and there's no certainty she'll stay over here for any length of time. Only European races count so it's irrelevant if she keeps winning in the southern hemisphere.
Paul Curtis (Racing Post Ratings) Banker His impressive Racing Post Trophy success elevated him to the top of the Racing Post Ratings juvenile rankings with a mark of 119+, and he created such a big impression that he demands inclusion. He'll need to improve further to justify short-odds favouritism for the 2,000 Guineas and Derby, but there's no three-year-old better placed to do so.
Graham Dench (Senior analyst) Banker I have not seen anything so far to trouble him in the 2,000 Guineas and he should be every bit as effective over 1m4f, and at intermediate distances afterwards. It didn't happen for St Nicholas Abbey two years ago but Camelot looks to have it all. Fingers crossed.
Paul Kealy (Betting editor) Banker Whether or not the son of Montjeu has the speed to win a 2,000 Guineas - a soft-ground one next Saturday would bring his stamina into play - he is very much the No. 1 at Ballydoyle and clear favourite for the Derby. It would take a brave player to leave him out.
Kevin Morley (Watching the trainers) Banker It's difficult to omit a colt who is such a strong fancy for the 2,000 Guineas and Derby. Despite not running since his Racing Post Trophy romp, his claims for the Newmarket Classic have strengthened with Most Improved injured and Top Offer missing his prep run in the Greenham.
Nick Watts (Ante-post focus) Banker By no means a certainty and not as obvious a candidate as many think. St Nicholas Abbey was a similar proposition two seasons ago but look how he bombed. However, there does seem to be a massive amount of confidence behind Camelot, and with him being a Guineas and Derby contender, he covers two bases at least.
Paul Curtis (Racing Post Ratings) Banker Seemed exposed as a Group 2 performer at best until taking his form to a new level last year. His Champion Stakes success enabled him to share top European older horse honours with an RPR of 130. Having kept his form really well, he returned looking as good as ever when winning the Dubai Sheema Classic. Should get plenty of scoring opportunities.
Graham Dench (Senior analyst) Banker As tough as they come and a gelding, so he's there to race. He ran eight times within the competition period last year, winning four, and although it will be Group 1s all the way now he should pick up two or three, with a repeat in the Champion Stakes high on the agenda.
Paul Kealy (Betting editor) Blowout Dangerous one this, as he's been a real winning machine over the last couple of seasons. However, I've lost count of the number of horses who head out to Dubai to win a big pot and then fail to make a major impact back in Europe. After his victory in the Sheema Classic, he may join the list. Kevin Morley (Watching the trainers) Blowout I'd be leaving him out, at least initially. The winner of last year's Champion Stakes - a bonus race - might be one to consider during the July bonus window, with more Group 1 middle-distance races in the second half of the season. However, he's sure to receive invitations to compete for big money in the Far East - races which earn you no points.
Nick Watts (Ante-post focus) Blowout Admirable horse though he is, he may not feature in many bonus point races this season, and of those he might go for, like the Eclipse, he could run into Frankel. Last season, for example, he won five races but only one of those, the Champion Stakes, was a bonus race.
Paul Curtis (Racing Post Ratings) Banker One of the surprise packages of last year, developing into a top-class miler despite coming off a clear second-best to Frankel on three occasions. His form would have rated him an up-to-scratch champion in an ordinary year and there should be plenty of points up for grabs if he is kept away from the world No.1. Graham Dench (Senior analyst) Banker Frankel has been a persistent thorn in his side so far, but gaining his revenge in the Lockinge is not totally out of the question and whatever happens at Newbury Excelebration could have the field to himself at 1m thereafter. He did not look to have gone backwards on his first run for Aidan O'Brien.
Paul Kealy (Betting editor) Banker Would have been champion miler last season but for the awesome Frankel and may well end up top dog this time, especially if Frankel goes up in trip, as expected. Even if he can't get the better of his old foe he's going to win points for Aidan O'Brien as he's top class.
Kevin Morley (Watching the trainers) Banker If it weren't for Frankel, he could easily have become a miling great of the modern era. He could still achieve that status as I don't think there's a better horse over the distance now his nemesis looks set to step up in trip. Bonus races such as the Queen Anne, Sussex and Queen Elizabeth II are all likely to be on his agenda. Nick Watts (Ante-post focus) Banker Although he may run into Frankel at some stage, the fact he's already won in Britain, Ireland, France and Germany indicates Aidan O'Brien can afford to be imaginative with his programme. With his class and durability he could be a hefty points scorer.
Paul Curtis (Racing Post Ratings) Banker A hard one to call as grounds for his inclusion centre on the Ascot Gold Cup, which contributed 50 of the 77 points he notched last year. He'll face stiff competition if the up-and-coming Saddler's Rock is as good as he looked in the Doncaster Cup in September, but like Yeats before him Fame And Glory's campaign will be centred around Ascot and he remains the one to beat.
Graham Dench (Senior analyst) Banker There is seldom much strength in depth in Cup races and Aidan O'Brien showed last year what a master he is at having old-timers like Fame And Glory right on the days that count. He's the one to beat at Royal Ascot again and he could win two or three more too.
Paul Kealy (Betting editor) Blowout He has always been high class, but always been a shade in and out and there's just a feeling that this year's crop of stayers could provide him with a stiffer challenge. John Oxx's Saddler's Rock certainly looks the sort to give him a fright.
Kevin Morley (Watching the trainers) Blowout Yes, he is the one to beat in the staying division but he'll have his campaign geared to one contest - the Ascot Gold Cup. That is a bonus race but it's the only one available to him and he was twice beaten at odds-on in easier races last season. If he flops at the Royal meeting I don't see him picking up many points.
Nick Watts (Ante-post focus) Banker For four years Yeats cast a spell over this division and Fame And Glory may now do likewise. Even if he gets beaten in his prep races, he'll more than likely win the Gold Cup again and the Irish Leger is probably on his radar too. Stands out in a category that lacks strength in depth.
Paul Curtis (Racing Post Ratings) Banker A no-brainer from a ratings point of view after he recorded the highest-ever turf RPR of 139 when surging clear of Excelebration in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes last October. He's a whopping 9lb clear of the next best horse in Europe, so is going to have to seriously underperform not to add to his Group 1 haul.
Graham Dench (Senior analyst) Banker It's very hard to go against him, although he will be trying something different this year and we have to take his effectiveness at 1m2f on trust until he has proved himself. It would be a big gamble to leave him out, but I would take a chance if I were compiling a few lists.
Paul Kealy (Betting editor) Banker With his recent injury proving only superficial there is no reason why Sir Henry Cecil's star colt cannot carry all before him again this season. If he gets 1m2f a lot more doors will open up, and if he doesn't it will only cost him one run before he goes back to dominate at 1m.
Kevin Morley (Watching the trainers) Banker I couldn't possibly leave out the best horse I've seen, or am ever likely to see, in my lifetime. The plan is to race over 1m2f and I expect him to prove more than effective at the distance. Even if connections decide that miling is the way to go, there are still plenty of bonus races for him and I'm confident he'll clean up wherever he goes.
Nick Watts (Ante-post focus) Banker It seems as though his recent injury scare was nothing serious, and if that's the case it should be business as usual when he returns to action. It looks as though longer trips will be within his remit this season, bringing in the Eclipse, and he should be the cornerstone of everyone's team. He's impossible to leave out.
Paul Curtis (Racing Post Ratings) Blowout She's been ante-post favourite for the 1,000 Guineas for some time, but next Sunday's Classic is more competitive than the odds suggest, with just 2lb separating the top eight original entries on RPRs. With the exception of Blue Bunting last year, recent Guineas winners have gone on to be modest points scorers in the Ten to Follow.
Graham Dench (Senior analyst) Blowout She was a cracking juvenile but I'm not sure what to make of her as a Classic prospect. Although she is by Galileo, her dam was a 5f performer, and besides, I think it's historically much more likely with fillies that something will emerge from nowhere to upset the form in the Classics. Paul Kealy (Betting editor) Blowout Carried all before her last term, winning all five starts culminating in the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes in August. Is favourite for both the 1,000 Guineas and Oaks, but has never really convinced me she is a superstar and it wouldn't surprise if a few progressed past her this term. Kevin Morley (Watching the trainers) Banker Similar to Camelot in the colts' Classics, Maybe holds a solid position in the markets for the 1,000 Guineas and Oaks and she has to be included. She was easily the best of her sex last year, proving that she possesses the speed for a mile while boasting a pedigree that suggests further will suit. Nick Watts (Ante-post focus) Banker She was unbeatable last season, effortlessly rising through the ranks before winning a Group 1 easily on her final start. She will surely go close in the 1,000 Guineas and should stay the Oaks trip, so she covers plenty of bases and is a must-have selection.
Paul Curtis (Racing Post Ratings) Blowout Got his career back on track last year without really hitting the heights that looked possible after his two-year-old campaign. Although he recorded two Group/Grade 1 victories, neither represented the strongest form for the grade and his overall level of ability falls below the very top level in Europe. Cirrus Des Aigles looks the better bet.
Graham Dench (Senior analyst) Blowout There will be no easy pickings this time and he will presumably be trained with one eye on a repeat win at the Breeders' Cup, which falls outside the Ten to Follow's parameters. He might win a Group 1 somewhere along the line but competition will be fierce in his sphere.
Paul Kealy (Betting editor) Blowout Looked good on his last two starts, signing off last season with victory in the Breeder's Cup Turf and narrowly outpointed by Cirrus Des Aigles in Dubai. However, a top Racing Post Rating of 124 is normally a fair bit behind what's required to win the major prizes and there will doubtless be an influx of new blood this term. Kevin Morley (Watching the trainers) Blowout While he is one of the better 1m4f horses in training he isn't the best, and I suspect he'll prove vulnerable against the elite in bonus races such as the King George and Arc. There must be a good chance that connections will eye up the Breeders' Cup Turf again as a late-season target - a contest that scores no points in the competition.
Nick Watts (Ante-post focus) Banker Finally fulfilling his potential, and although a repeat win at the Breeders' Cup wouldn't get you any points, he'll have plenty of opportunities before then to push you higher up the leaderboard, with the Coronation Cup, King George and Arc realistic targets again.
Paul Curtis (Racing Post Ratings) Blowout Highly regarded and created a good impression when winning his maiden. He's the buzz horse in this year's 2,000 Guineas and it's all about potential with him, as from a form perspective he can't be considered a banker; his winning RPR of 92+ was good if not exceptional and leaves him with plenty to prove.
Graham Dench (Senior analyst) Blowout I was as impressed as anyone with last year's maiden win, but he still has a vast gulf to bridge if he is to prove himself a Group 1 performer and inexperience could count against him in the 2,000 Guineas, in which his position in the market is based largely on homework and hype.
Paul Kealy (Betting editor) Blowout There will no doubt be plenty of improvers from maidens, but he's totally unproven and has already missed his 2,000 Guineas prep. Without a run behind him he looks a sure-fire market drifter on Saturday and there's no guessing where he'll end up.
Kevin Morley (Watching the trainers) Blowout He would have been easier to assess had he not missed the Greenham. He's one of the stronger Guineas candidates but his claims to be the leading miler of his generation are flimsy at present. He'll also be tackling older horses later in the season and he'll need to be exceptional if he's going to rack up points in races containing the likes of Excelebration. Nick Watts (Ante-post focus) Blowout He might be a good horse given time, but he'll have to be exceptional to win the 2,000 Guineas after just one win in a maiden, which was followed by an injury. He missed the Greenham on account of soft ground and it's pure guesswork as to how good he could be.
Paul Curtis (Racing Post Ratings) Blowout Might have struggled had she gone for the 1,000 Guineas and is possibly a better Oaks candidate. However, there's plenty to prove before Epsom, not least the worth of her Rockfel win, the form of which has taken a couple of knocks. There's too much guesswork involved.
Graham Dench (Senior analyst) Banker Although she didn't achieve half as much as Maybe at two the Rockfel is traditionally a good source of Classic talent and she might well make the better three-year-old. She surely has plenty more improvement in her and she could be quite versatile distance-wise too.
Paul Kealy (Betting editor) Blowout Impressive winner of the Rockfel last year, but that form doesn't look particularly strong and she has clearly been struggling to meet her early-season targets. Remains a filly of serious potential, but until we know she's fine I'd leave her out.
Kevin Morley (Watching the trainers) Blowout There's a spot for a Ballydoyle filly prominent in the betting for the Oaks, but that has to go to Maybe as the form of Wading's Rockfel success doesn't match her stablemate's juvenile form. Siding with Wading at the expense of Maybe could potentially leave you in a strong position, but as she's no longer in the Guineas the risk doesn't seem worth taking.
Nick Watts (Ante-post focus) Blowout With Wading missing the 1,000 Guineas she won't get any early points, and if stablemate Maybe wins at Newmarket in a week's time she will advance her claims for the Oaks. Early momentum is crucial in the Ten to Follow and she won't provide that, so she has to be swerved in favour of Maybe.
BLACK CAVIAR CAMELOT CIRRUS DES AIGLES EXCELEBRATION FAME AND GLORY FRANKEL MAYBE ST NICHOLAS ABBEY TOP OFFER WADING
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|Publication:||The Racing Post (London, England)|
|Date:||Apr 29, 2012|
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