Ghostwriter the pick to topple Troy in 2000 Guineas

May 3rd, 2024

Before the Kentucky Derby Day card gets into full swing on Saturday, I'll continue my betting journey through the English flat season with a play in that country's first classic of the year, the 2000 Guineas (G1) at Newmarket.

The one-mile fixture perhaps won't be many folks' idea of a great betting proposition. The undefeated City of Troy has been an overwhelming favorite for this over the past seven months or so, since his devastating score in the Dewhurst (G1) over a furlong shorter. The lads at Coolmore are smitten, referring to him at times as "Our Frankel."

There is nothing inherently wrong with City of Troy's candidacy from this view. Except the price. Odds-on is difficult to swallow.

Coolmore has had a mixed record with 2000 Guineas favorites. Four have won, though none at odds-on (George Washington and Churchill were the closest). Among their losing favorites were the odds-on Air Force Blue and Auguste Rodin, who threw in one of his occasional stinkers last year.

Other non-Coolmore favorites have taken it on the chin in recent years, including odds-on Pinatubo and Native Trail, both for Godolphin.

The bottom line is there is no huge risk at opposing a heavy favorite in the Guineas, if that is one feels they have a suitable alternative. I hope I do.

Like City of Troy, #3 Ghostwriter (15-1) enters undefeated from three starts. Although not as flashy in his successes last term, Ghostwriter gave hints at a bright future over a mile and probably further, as trainer Clive Cox believes the son of Invincible Spirit could stretch out to 1 1/4 miles, or perhaps be a Derby type with a good showing here.

A seemingly good-sized colt, Ghostwriter was a course-and-distance winner of the Royal Lodge (G2) in September. Although not on par with the Dewhurst, the Royal Lodge has been won by the likes of Frankel and Roaring Lion in the last 15 years.

Although proven at a mile already, it's worth noting one pedigree tidbit about Ghostwriter. He hails from the female family of Zafonic, the electric, odds-on winner of the Guineas in 1993. In case City of Troy proves not to be the real deal, or at least not on Saturday, Ghostwriter is the value play for me in the Guineas.

The original bankroll of $1,000 has shrunk to $773, so our win play will be $39 on Ghostwriter.

The Guineas is Race 5 at Newmarket, with a scheduled post time of 10:35 a.m. ET.