Don’t overlook less-heralded O’Brien runner in the 1,000 Guineas

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Aidan O’Brien is a two-time winner of the 1,000 Guineas, but it is worth noting that both of these successes came via entrants who were not especially well fancied.

Virginia Water was the sole O’Brien runner in 2005, but was sent off at 12/1, while Homecoming Queen triumphed at 25/1 in 2012 when stablemate Maybe was the clear 13/8 favourite.

The Irish trainer has two prominent runners in the betting this time, with Fillies’ Mile winner Minding the 5/4 market leader and Prix Marcel Boussac victor Ballydoyle available at 11/2.

Few can argue against the former having the best two-year-old form in the book, while the predicted rain at Newmarket in the build up will also be more in his favour.

However, the most fancied runner from the O’Brien yard has finished last in each of the last two years, with Tapestry the favourite when doing so in 2014.

It is hard to know how much Minding and Ballydoyle have improved over the winter too as the 1,000 Guineas represents their seasonal reappearances, while with the Epsom Oaks being more prestigious in June, there is the possibility that either or both could be trained to peak then and be slightly undercooked here.

Alice Springs is the third O’Brien entry and does have the benefit of a run this term when finishing third to the supplemented 1,000 Guineas entry Jet Setting in a Guineas trial over 7f at Leopardstown. Both of the trainer’s previous winners had enjoyed the benefit of a prep run.

But Alice Springs was given an easy time of it by Ryan Moore that day and should appreciate the extra furlong at Newmarket. It would be no surprise if the trainer’s least-backed runner ended up being his first across the line again in a Classic.

Qualify triumphed in the Oaks last term at 50/1 ahead of more fancied duo Together Forever and Diamondsandrubies, while Was landed the same race at 20/1 in 2012 when Maybe was again much shorter odds.

Alice Springs is currently 20/1 to win the 1,000 Guineas and this could be viewed as a generous price by 3:45 on Sunday.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.