One of the oldest counsels in asset management is that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. It is fortunate that those prepared to differ at Kempton on Saturday included bookmakers, who offered 33-1 against Asset for the 2,000 Guineas.
They evidently could not countenance the idea that a genuine Classic colt could emerge from a race run on the new Polytrack, even though the Easter Stakes had declined as a trial largely because it was routinely run in heavy ground. Certainly it never fell out of favour with Richard Hannon, who has won the Guineas three times. In Asset, he threw a pearl before swine.
His rivals could scarcely give him a lead. All remaining well, Asset will be one of few runners at Newmarket to have demonstrated his progress from two to three. Almost all those ahead of him in the betting are going straight to the race, and some generous assumptions are being made about their readiness.
The only caveat would be soft ground, which blunted Asset's speed on his final start at two. It is easy to see why he might become unbalanced in sticky conditions - he slightly splays one foreleg - but soft ground is rare on the Rowley Mile nowadays, and Asset will surely start at around half the odds available now.
Kempton's management would be grateful if he were to reflect glory on their new surface. Having discovered stones on it before the first meeting, yesterday they grappled with a stalls malfunction. After 17 minutes, they resorted to a flip start but the runners had to be recalled when Obrigado was badly left. Sure enough, it was the same horse that came in first when the field was finally sent on its way.