Palace Pier, Qipco 2,000 Guineas
John Gosden’s son of Kingman looked something out of the ordinary when bolting up on debut at Sandown last August and that impression was confirmed at the same venue a month later with a ready victory as 1-8 favourite.
The Group 1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardère was mooted as a possible target for the colt who fetched 600,000gns as a yearling, but a leg injury brought the curtain down on his season prematurely.
Given the fact he had to miss some time, a delay to the Qipco 2,000 Guineas shouldn’t come as a disadvantage to the 16-1 chance, who clearly has a huge amount of natural ability.
The outstanding Pinatubo needs to prove he wasn’t just a two-year-old phenomenon and Palace Pier could be open to further improvement, better value than the favourite to go one better than his sire did in the 2014 contest.
Peaceful, Qipco 1,000 Guineas
Aidan O’Brien is chasing a fourth Qipco 1,000 Guineas success in the last five years and his unexposed Galileo filly Peaceful could be a dark horse in the market at 40-1.
Like plenty of the stable’s newcomers, the sister to Hurry Harriet Stakes winner Easter was green on her introduction at Leopardstown but improved plenty from that to trounce her rivals at Thurles by seven lengths in October.
She emerged with credit from her neck-second to Born With Pride on heavy ground at Newmarket a month later but there’s every chance she’ll come on a bundle for that experience, the first real battle she faced.
A tilt at the Oaks is also possible, with her stamina likely fine over that extended distance, but should Peaceful line up in the 1,000 Guineas it would be surprising if she didn’t outrun her odds by some way.
It’s worth remembering that former Ballydoyle-trained Guineas heroine Winter was a similar price at this stage of antepost proceedings when she landed an antepost gamble in 2017.
Born With Pride, Investec Oaks
The filly that had Peaceful’s measure when winning the Listed Montrose Fillies’ Stakes last November still seems to be flying under the radar somewhat at 16-1 in the Investec Oaks market for William Haggas, who won the race in 2011 with Dancing Rain.
The Born To Sea filly, who is closely related to Australian Group 1 winner Shraaoh, Group 3 scorer Raheen House and capable performer Sea Of Faith, showed immense potential to beat a talented group of fillies on debut at 20-1 last November and looks open to any amount of improvement this season.
Recent reports from the Haggas camp have been positive and the Oaks distance shouldn’t phase her. In an open-looking running of the Epsom fillies’ Classic, it could pay to keep this exciting youngster onside.
Russian Emperor, Investec Derby
There is nobody better than Aidan O’Brien at preparing a horse to peak for the Investec Derby at Epsom and I can’t get my head around why his hugely promising three-year-old Russian Emperor is as big as 66-1 to provide him with a record eighth win in the race.
By Galileo and out of a prolific Group 1-winning mare, won ten of her 11 starts in Australia from 5.5f to 1m2f, he went into the notebook after an eyecatching introduction at the Curragh last July when keeping on nicely despite his rider feeling the newcomer was struck into quite badly.
A 247-day absence wasn’t enough to stop him from winning on the first – and only – day of the turf Flat season at Naas last month, somehow managing to get on top close home after the penny dropped inside the final furlong.
The benefit of having that run under his girth could prove substantial come Derby day when it’s possible a fair amount of his rivals could be coming off the back of rushed preparations.
As big as 66-1 and a general 50-1, Russian Emperor looks a cracking each-way bet at this stage of proceedings.