Poetic Flare, a 16-1 chance trained in Ireland by Jim Bolger, took the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket on Saturday after a fierce battle with Master Of The Seas through the final furlong. Kevin Manning’s horse was prominent from the off and took a strong hold of the bit in the opening quarter-mile but still had enough left to hold off Master Of The Seas by a short head with Lucky Vega another neck away in third.
Poetic Flare is a son of Dawn Approach, who was trained by Bolger to win the 2,000 Guineas eight year ago, and was also bred by the trainer and owned by his wife, Jackie. Manning, meanwhile, is Bolger’s son-in-law, making the first Classic of the new Flat season entirely a family affair.
Battleground, sent off favourite at 9-2 to give Aidan O’Brien an 11th win in the race, was 13th of the 14 runners, beating only another well-fancied runner in Thunder Moon. O’Brien’s other runners, Van Gogh and Wembley, were eighth and 11th respectively.
“He’s done nothing wrong all along this horse,” Manning said on ITV Racing afterwards. “He was impressive in his trial at Leopardstown and he’d come forward from that. I really fancied him.
“He’s just a proper horse. I really thought whatever beat him might win.”
Santa Barbara short to shine in 1,000 Guineas
Sunday’s 1,000 Guineas revolves around O’Brien’s filly Santa Barbara, and whether she can possibly be as talented as the noises emerging from her stable – and the money that has forced her down to around 5-4 – seem to suggest.
All that those of us without direct access to the Ballydoyle gallops have to go on is a maiden win at The Curragh last September, when Santa Barbara overcame her obvious inexperience to beat 17 opponents. Only four of the horses behind her there have managed a win in 30 subsequent attempts while Santa Barbara’s winning time was fair without being obviously exceptional. O’Brien, though, has put his familiar reticence aside in recent days with quotes that are, by his standards, one step removed from accosting punters in the street and telling them to empty their pockets onto Santa Barbara.
“Anything she works with, she always looks to be going easiest,” he said this week, “no matter what horse. She hasn’t been asked to see how much is in there but she has always looked to be dominating anything we have worked with her.”
Santa Barbara may prove herself worthy of her advance billing, but such an inexperienced filly is essentially unbackable at her current price, not least as there are rivals with solid claims on form that will return more for a place if backed each-way.
Alcohol Free will be a popular option at around 7-1 but Statement (3.40), who was just a short-head behind her in the Fred Darling, is a 12-1 chance despite looking more likely to improve for an extra furlong on Sunday.
#Poetic #Flare #holds #Master #Seas #thrilling #finish #win #Guineas