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    Five horses to keep an eye on from the Guineas Festival
Five horses to keep an eye on from the Guineas Festival
Guineas Festival. Source: Sporting Life

Five horses to keep an eye on from the Guineas Festival


Upon initially watching the QIPCO 1000 Guineas, it was obvious that the French contender, Ramatuelle, had experienced some unfortunate luck by not managing to hold on to her lead. She had travelled strongly near the front and accelerated away convincingly. It is undeniable that she had the stamina. If she were to enter the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot, which involves navigating a bend, it would be expected that she would reverse the outcome and emerge victorious against those who defeated her.

However, upon reviewing the race a second and third time, it became evident that the one who truly deserves a significant upgrade is Tamfana, trained by David Menuisier and ridden by Jamie Spencer. This filly received the characteristic mile-long ride from Spencer, but unfortunately, the jockey failed to find the necessary openings when they were needed, despite his partner's strong performance. As a result, Spencer had to manoeuvre the filly to the widest position towards the stands' side to secure a clear path. Despite this setback, they displayed exceptional resilience and were the fastest combination in the final furlong, clocking an impressive time of 12.11 seconds. But, the damage had already been done, and they ended up losing by approximately half a length.

Menuisier expressed his sentiments after the race, stating, "I don't really know what to say. You could run the  race 100 times, she would win 99 of them, but that's life." 

He also sympathised with Spencer, acknowledging that the outcome was not the jockey's fault. Spencer had positioned himself perfectly, exactly where yesterday's winner had been, and Tamfana was outperforming all the other horses. The issue simply lay in the failure to find the necessary openings, which can happen in racing. Menuisier recognised that they were not the first nor the last to encounter such circumstances and emphasised the need to cope with such setbacks.

Although Menuisier acknowledged the positive aspects, such as having a talented filly and executing everything correctly except for the final result, he couldn't fully embrace happiness. Their ultimate goal had been to win the race, and despite everything falling into place, they fell short. Looking ahead, Tamfana has been targeted for the French Oaks, and the additional quarter of a mile should pose no problem for her. Furthermore, she has proven to be adaptable to various ground conditions.

Twilight Calls ( in the middle ). Source: Sky Sports
Twilight Calls ( in the middle ). Source: Sky Sports

Twilight Calls

The William Hill Palace House Stakes had an exciting and closely contested finish. Still, the standout performer in the race was Twilight Calls, who caught everyone's attention by making a strong late surge to secure fourth place. Despite starting from the back of the pack for a significant portion of the race, Twilight Calls demonstrated remarkable speed in the penultimate furlong (10.81 seconds) and the final furlong (11.76 seconds), as revealed by the RaceiQ sectionals. This performance indicates that Twilight Calls is likely to be a significant contender in the upcoming King Charles III Stakes (previously known as the King's Stand) at Royal Ascot. In the last two editions of the race, Twilight Calls finished second and fourth respectively. Currently priced at 25/1, Twilight Calls represents an attractive each-way bet for the Royal Ascot feature race.

Looking at the broader picture, the Palace House Stakes saw three-year-olds claiming the first and third positions, a feat that hadn't been achieved since 2009. This result suggests that the older sprinters might be vulnerable, and it is possible that last year's promising batch of juveniles could excel against them during the summer season.


Ghostwriter faced a challenging start and stumbled early on during the 2000 Guineas race, causing him to lag behind for most of the event. He never managed to gain ground and was only marginally closer to the front at the end. Additionally, Ghostwriter didn't appear entirely comfortable on the track, despite his determined victory in the Royal Lodge race last year, which may have been misleading. Ghostwriter is an impressive and imposing horse, and it will be intriguing to see which direction his career takes next. His upcoming entries include the Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Dante Stakes, Tattersalls Irish 2000 Guineas, and Betfred Derby in the next month. The Dante Stakes on May 16 would be a relatively quick turnaround, while the Derby would be a risky move considering his breeding combines both speed and stamina. He is currently listed at odds of 33/1 for the latter race. In an update from Clive Cox on Monday, it was revealed that Ghostwriter's next intended race will be the French Derby. In a broader sense, the 2000 Guineas had a fast pace, as indicated by the Finishing Speed Percentages of all the participants, suggesting that fatigue played a role in their performance towards the end. Interestingly, the winner of the race had already competed in three races this year, while the third-place finisher, Haatem, also had the advantage of a prior race. Clive Cox had considered a preparatory race for Ghostwriter but ultimately decided against it. 

Rohaan (number 4 ). Source: Racing and Sports
Rohaan (number 4 ). Source: Racing and Sports


Rohaan, the gelding trained by David Evans, has been a familiar presence for a long time, despite being only six years old. He caught attention with his performance in the 6f handicap race on Saturday, finishing fifth. Rohaan had a challenging start, experiencing some pressure and finding himself on the unfavourable side of the track for a significant portion of the race where most of the leading horses were positioned. Despite not appearing likely to win, he displayed enough determination to secure a respectable fifth place, indicating that he is in good form. Rohaan excels at Ascot, having won five out of ten races there. His primary target is probably the Wokingham race. In 2021 and 2022, he emerged victorious in Wokingham with handicap ratings of 112 and 109 respectively. However, he chose to skip last year's edition to compete in the Group One Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes, as his rating had risen to 112 at that time. In the recent race on Saturday, Rohaan competed with a rating of 103, and it's possible that his rating might be reduced further. During his previous appearance at Ascot in October, he triumphed over 15 rivals as the well-supported favourite with odds of 2/1 and a rating of 102. Currently, bookmakers are not offering odds on the Wokingham, but it would be wise to keep Rohaan in mind when they do.

Bague D’Or

Bague D'Or, a successful winner of the 1m6f handicap race, raced separately from the Gosden pair who pursued him. While he galloped towards the centre, the pair chasing him were among four horses on the far side. It's important to note that when Bague D'Or is reassessed, the next horse in his group, New London, who was the favourite, finished twelve lengths behind him. Additionally, Bague D'Or was making his seasonal debut, while his closest competitors were already race-fit. Although Bague D'Or has a good track record when starting fresh, his trainer, James Ferguson, suggested that he would improve with more races. Overall, he is a horse worth keeping an eye on. He has a perfect record of 1 win out of 1 race at Ascot, making him a likely contender for the Copper Horse Handicap at Royal Ascot next month. Last year, a rating of 97 was required to enter the race, and since Bague D'Or won with a rating of 91, he may have a chance to participate.

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