Same course, different day, same story going in – Aidan O’Brien saddles up the favourite in a race he has dominated in recent years.
O’Brien has won the previous two 1000 Guineas, and four of the last five.
And such is his reputation, this year’s favourite is all the rage, despite having only raced once!
Our Top Odds Pick – Santa Barbara – 5/4 at Paddy Power
If any horse can win a Classic on just her second run, it’s one trained by Aidan O’Brien!
And if the whispers coming out of the Ballydoyle gallops are to be believed, O’Brien could have yet another flat superstar on his hands with Santa Barbara.
She’s certainly from good stock, as the daughter of former 2000 Guineas & Epsom Derby winner Camelot, who has already sired seven Group 1 winners.
And after a comfortable win in her one and only race last September, punters really began to take notice when she reappeared in the spring, to the point where she is a heavy favourite going into this race.
The breeding is there, the talent is there, and she’s being saddled up by flat racing royalty.
And the withdrawal of second-favourite Pretty Gorgeous certainly helps!
However, the question is whether inexperience will cost her, in what should be a fiercely competitive renewal of the season’s second flat racing Classic.
The answer is, we don’t really know, but after listening to O’Brien wax lyrical about her intelligence, speed and the way she makes things look so easy, he’s made a believer out of us!
Saffron Beach is no stranger to Newmarket, having run all of her three races there, winning two of them and chasing Sacred home in the Nell Gwyn Stakes last time out.
Trainer Jane Chapple-Hyam said this week:
“I would say she was around 90 per cent fit for the Nell Gwyn, after which she had a good blow, and she shaped then as if she needs a mile already. She could even be an Oaks filly in time.”
High praise indeed, and a mile is exactly what she’ll get here, as she bids to take revenge on Sacred and emulate Sky Lantern, the last runner-up in the Nell Gwyn to go one better in the 1,000 Guineas, in 2013.
Having only ever run at the Rowley Mile will certainly help, and with double figure odds available, an each way punt will get you 2/1 for her to finish in the first three.
So with the favourite already in the staking plan, it seems like life’s a Santa Barbara beach for us on Sunday!
Please note that all odds are correct at time of publication and are subject to change.