Nuclear Affair, Future King fancied for Guineas classics
A bumper crowd is expected a Caymanas Park today for the season's first classics, the 42nd running of the Post to Post 1000 and 2000 Guineas for native bred three-year-old fillies and colts, respectively, over a mile.
Both races are being sponsored by the betting and gaming entity, Post to Post, for the second consecutive year and will again offer purses of $3.25 million.
Of the 13 fillies declared for the 1000 Guineas, there is a definite standout in the form of NUCLEAR AFFAIR, who is unbeaten in two starts this season.
Trained by Gary Subratie, who also saddles the recent winners, CLASSY AVIATOR and GOLDEN GLORY, NUCLEAR AFFAIR caught the eye in four races as a two-year-old last season, culminating in her brave effort on Boxing Day when caught on the line by the top colt, FUTURE KING, in the $4.25 million Supreme Ventures two-year-old Stakes over this trip.
According to Subratie, the bay filly by Nuclear Wayne out of Commandra Affair has not put a foot wrong since.
"She is really a class act and truly impressed with her last performance, three weeks ago, when winning the Thornbird Trial Stakes over seven furlongs from well off the pace.
"She has worked well in her preparation for this race and with a mile even more to her liking, I am pretty confident she will deliver with former champion jockey Dane Nelson again in the saddle," said the second-generation trainer, who previously won the 1000 Guineas with NIPHAL in 2011.
To my mind, the principal danger to NUCLEAR AFFAIR is highly regarded SORENTINO'S STAR, to be ridden by leading all-time classic winning jockey, Winston 'Fanna' Griffiths, for 14-time champion trainer, Philip Feanny.
She beat FUTURE KING in the $3.6 million Pick-3 Super Challenge Trophy over 1400metres last November, and although failing to impress under topweight in the recent Thornbird Stakes, has worked well and should complete the exacta.
If NUCLEAR AFFAIR is the one to beat in the fillies Guineas, the same holds true for Wayne DaCosta-trained FUTURE KING (Robert Halledeen up) in the 2000 Guineas, despite a recent setback (hoof injury) which forced him out of a recent overnight allowance race.
DaCosta disclosed that although missing from exercise for two weeks, FUTURE KING, who returned to the exercise track late last week, is on the way back and although a bit short of work "his class should see him through" at the expense of recent Prince Consort Stakes winner, CHACE THE GREAT, runner-up ORPHEUS and BIGDADDYKOOL.
Other firm fancies on the 11-race programme are BERRANCA to go one better in the first race, CONCLUSION in the fifth, SUPER COP in the sixth and ORIGINAL TRAIN in the 10th for overnight allowance horses.