With the flat season kicking off at Doncaster, it's time to think of the early Classics and MAGNA GRECIA make's big appeal in the 2,000 Guineas.
Something of a late starter last season, he made a stunning impact on those of us lucky enough to see him that first day out in late September at Naas. Ryan Moore had just flown in from America where he had been on duty for Ballydoyle the night before but he had to be on full alert in this opener as two horses slipped up badly and fell amid considerable confusion around the furlong pole.
Thankfully both horses and more importantly jockeys Niall McCullagh and Robbie Colgan were unharmed. Magna Grecia and Moore meanwhile were glued to the far rail and came through unscathed, quickening up sharply to win going away.
The normally reserved Aidan O'Brien was positively purring after the race and made no secret of how highly he rated the winner. A quick step up in class followed and he was beaten a neck under Donnacha O'Brien by Persian King in the Autumn Stakes at Newmarket.
It was a busy end of season for him - deliberately so Aidan says to give him experience - and with Donnacha aboard again and, despite still running a bit green, he won the Futurity at Doncaster, beating very decent yardstick Phoenix Of Spain by a head.
Aidan O'Brien says: "He has wintered particularly well, we're delighted with him. Things all happened a bit quick for him with three quick races at the end of last season but he clearly learnt a lot. He was still very babyish when winning at Doncaster but he has really grown now. The Guineas is the plan for him, whether with a prep race or not I don't know. But we'd be happy to go straight to Newmarket with him if that's how it pans out" Aidan added.
The horse proved he is ground versatile last Autumn which we might expect from an Invincible Spirit colt out of a Galileo mare. Too Darn Hot obviously sets the standard, with our selection's stablemate Ten Sovereigns also very prominent in the betting.
There are some doubts though among many in Ballydoyle - including it is said one of the leading jockeys - about whether that exciting No Nay Never colt will fully see out a mile. A real speed merchant, and probably the fastest and most exciting juvenile bolting up The Curragh since the days of One Cool Cat and George Washington, he has yet to race beyond six furlongs. No such stamina reservations though about Magna Grecia and snapping up the remaining 14/1 each way is strongly advised.
Bet - 2,000 GUINEAS - 0.5 pt. each way MAGNA GRECIA 14/1 Paddy Power
MAGNA GRECIA 0.5 pt. each way 14/1 Paddy Power