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Nic Ladds 28th Apr 2009 - 11:00

Himalya could conquer all in the 2000 Guineas

With just under a week to go until this year's 2000 Guineas it appears that just like in so many of the big races, Aidan O'Brien is holding the key to the market and the race.

O'Brien has won the race four time in the last seven years, most recently with Henrythenavigator and he looks to be playing a strong hand this year.

His two best chances are Mastercraftsman who is at odds of 9/2 in the betting and the horse everyone is talking about, Rip Van Winkle who can be backed at 4/1.

The reason everyone is talking about Rip Van Winkle is that recent reports have come out of Ballydolye that he pulled out sore and a stone bruise has been found on one of his front legs.

Reports suggest that he will be fine but this could be a serious blow to his chances if he does not fully overcome this setback.

Mastercraftsman is still on course for the big race but it has been noted that his conqueror in the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere Naaqoos was beaten on his reappearance this season at odds on.

O'Brien does still have three others entered in the race, Grand Ducal who is currently 100/1, then Westphalia at 25/1 and Set Sail at 66/1 although the latter two are more likely to be aimed at the French 2000 Guineas.

The current favourite Delegator won very impressively on his reappearance, winning in the Craven at Newmarket, and is currently priced at odds of 7/2.

The odds have eased recently though for Brian Meehan's star, as he will not run if the ground is too quick.

This would massively shake up the market and puts more doubts over another one of the market leaders about whether he will run, and whether the ground will be suitable.

Doubts also hang over the John Oxx pair, Arazan and Sea The Stars, again both due to ground concerns.

12/1 chance Arazan looked a very exciting horse last season and if there is a bit of rain he will take his chance and bid to reverse the placings of the National Stakes where he finished third to Mastercraftsman on heavy ground.

Sea The Stars has not had the best reports from the gallops and has recently recovered from a temperature and his participation looks unlikely but he can still be backed at odds of 16/1 which could look big if he does line up and the principals drop out.

Sir Michael Stoute last won the 2000 Guineas back in 2001 with Golan, and his best chance Evasive who is 10/1 in the betting look sure to take his chance.

He looked on the up when winning a Group 3 at Newbury last season and though he will need to improve on known form here, there is every chance he can, and he has won on both firm and soft ground.

Barry Hills' Ouqba wasn't going to run in this race but having won well on his seasonal reappearance has been supplemented at a cost of £30,000 and you can be sure connections won't just be entering him for the day out and could run a big race at 25/1.

Cityscape made a good reappearance at Newbury and was finishing well with 7f just on the sharp side but the run should have him well prepped for the Guineas and 16/1 looks a good price.

Dewhurst winner Intense Focus is another who ran well enough on his return and this tough horse will be battling all the way to the finish and is still available now at odds of 14/1.

Others who look like they will take their chance include Finjaan, who is adaptable at running over a range of distances is 28/1, although he will do well to reverse form with Intense Focus.

Himalya is another one to look out for as reports have come from his stable that he is temperamental and has had some problems, but his performance in the Coventry when running very well despite being green suggests he can run a big race in the Guineas.

Assuming he takes his chance he has the assistance of Seb Sanders and is a generous looking 50/1 to take the big prize and if you fancy a bet now then a wager on Jeremy Noseda's hope is the bet.

Questions over whether he is mentally ready remain but you can be sure Noseda would not let him run if he didn't think he had a chance.

As the week goes on the market should start to shape up nicely and while there are reports that numbers will be scarce this year it still looks an extremely competitive race.

Hopefully the market principles will take their chance and we will get a chance to see the greatest male 3-year-olds do battle.

You can be sure as the market continues to shape up William Hill will be here with reports and betting updates so you know exactly where to put your money.

Recommendation:
Himalya - 50/1

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