I remember backing the winner of the 2000 Guineas in 1979. I didn’t know too much about Tap On Wood, I didn’t know that he had won the Irish National Stakes the previous season, and I didn’t truly know that he was a 20/1 shot, but I did know that he was Steve Cauthen’s ride in the Guineas, and I loved Steve Cauthen.

I did know that my grandfather had backed One In A Million to win the 1000 Guineas (I think the 1000 Guineas was run on a Thursday or a Friday in those days, with the 2000 Guineas being run on the Saturday), and I did know that he had backed Kris to win the 2000 Guineas (my grandfather was a big Joe Mercer fan), and I did know that he had had a double the pair of them. Nevertheless, it didn’t stop me shouting for Cauthen and Tap On Wood as he and Mercer on Kris settled down to scrap it out. You could buy a lot of toys with 10p at 20/1 in 1979.

If I learned one thing that day, it was to not cheer for a horse when you are watching the race with your grandfather if he has backed the other one. If I learned another, it was that outsiders can win the Guineas. Fast-forward 33 years (feeling old?) and two of the last five Guineas winners were priced at 25/1 or more, only one of the last five was sent off at less that 8/1, and only two favourites have won in the last 10 years.

It’s hardly surprising. There are so many unknowns surrounding the Guineas. Four of the top seven in the market haven’t run yet this season, which means that we haven’t seen them race in over 200 days, which means that they have had all that time, from two to three, to develop and mature, at who knows what rate?

Maybe the Guineas is, as they say, the last two-year-old race of the season. Maybe the most precocious two-year-old does win it, maybe the others haven’t had time to catch up as yet. If that is the case, then if you have backed Camelot, go and collect. His performance in landing the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster last October was probably the most impressive performance that any European juvenile put up last term.

However, when you are talking about a 15/8 shot, you are entitled to look for potential chinks, and you can find them if you look for them. For starters, because of all the unknowns around the Guineas, you can easily argue that no horse should be as short as 2/1. Add to that the Montjeu factor, the fact that Montjeu is a sire for middle distances rather than for a mile, and the fact that there is plenty of middle-distance influence on Camelot’s distaff side, and you can see the case against.

He raced twice last season as a juvenile, both times over a mile, which really suggests that he should be a middle-distance three-year-old, not a miler. He won the Racing Post Trophy, more a pointer to the Derby than to the Guineas.

Last autumn it wasn’t certain that Camelot was going to be trained for the Guineas at all. Indeed, Dewhurst runner-up Power looked like the most likely Ballydoyle Guineas horse. But Power apparently suffered a slight setback during the winter, and perhaps it was then that Aidan O’Brien decided to train Camelot a bit, see if he made it in time for the Guineas.

Of course, it wouldn’t be at all surprising to see Camelot dance in today. After all, it was only as recently as 2009 that Sea The Stars won the Guineas, despite the fact that he was really a middle-distance horse as well. It can be done, and it may be that Camelot will simply out-class his rivals. But at 2.86, you are entitled to look beyond him.

Speaking of Sea The Stars, his three-parts brother Born To Sea is a really interesting horse. Given his breeding (out of uber-broodmare Urban Sea, so add Galileo to his list of siblings), he was always going to be high-profile, and the fact that he races in Sea The Stars’s yellow silks doesn’t help his incognito cause, but he did look exciting when he won a listed race on his racecourse debut at The Curragh, and the fact that it is obvious that a trainer as astute and as matter-of-fact as John Oxx holds him in high regard makes him really interesting.

Oxx doesn’t send many horses overseas, so when he does, you need to pay close attention. He allowed Sea The Stars make his seasonal debut in the Guineas, and look how that one turned out.

It is difficult to know what to do with the French triumvirate, except to not back them on the Tote. (The French can bet into the Guineas Tote pools, and they are a patriotic bunch, so best steer clear of the Nanny Goat if you are intent on supporting the Gallic invasion.)

All the money says that Abtaal is the one, and he did beat French Fifteen well in the Prix Thomas Bryon last October, but French Fifteen beat Abtaal in the Prix Djebel four weeks ago. Abtaal is expected to come on for the run, but the fact remains that French Fifteen beat him, and he will surely come on for his seasonal debut as well. Maybe there shouldn’t be as much between them in the market as there is, and don’t rule out the third-placed Hermival if it gets very soft.

Of course there are lots of others with chances, Caspar Netscher and Bronterre both look over-priced, and Power was the horse that I wanted to back for the Guineas last autumn before Camelot entered the reckoning and Power got worryingly weak in the market.

I’ve backed Born To Sea, but it’s a race in which to tread warily.

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