Racing: Barathea can graduate to Guineas

WHILE purists analyse the official juvenile ratings, punters will surely opt for the more practical territory of the ante-post odds on next season's Classics, writes Greg Wood.

Few will linger long over Zafonic, though. The easy Dewhurst Stakes winner is no better than 11- 10 favourite for the 2,000 Guineas, and is unlikely to be much shorter even if he actually enters the Newmarket stalls on 1 May. He does make the market ripe for an each- way bet, however, with Barathea, winner of the Houghton Stakes, making most appeal at a widely available 25-1.

The value of Armiger's 7-1 quote for the Derby is harder to fault, but still cannot allow for five months' worth of uncertainty. Another 25-1 chance, John Gosden's Taos, is a reasonable bet to finally give Sheikh Mohammed his first win in the Epsom Classic.

Lyric Fantasy, the Nunthorpe winner, is last season's top-rated filly, but her defeat by Sayyedati in the Cheveley Park Stakes marked the latter down as more of a Classic prospect. The only filly to beat her, the once-raced Sumoto, is generally reckoned the second-favourite for the 1,000 Guineas, but her lack of experience might count against her in a race which comes very early in a three-year-old's career.

Sueboog finished fourth to Zafonic when a rare female runner in the Dewhurst, and is a better long-range chance.

1,000 GUINEAS (29 April): Coral: 3-1 Sayyedati, 10-1 Sumoto, 16-1 Elizabeth Bay, Gold Splash, 20-1 Criquette, Dancing Bloom & Lyric Fantasy, 25-1 others. Hills: 3-1 Sayyedati, 12-1 Sumoto, 14- 1 Elizabeth Bay, 16-1 Sueboog, 20-1 others. Ladbrokes: 5-2 Sayyedati, 14-1 Bashayer & Sumoto, 16-1 Criquette & Elizabeth Bay, 20-1 Sueboog.

2,000 GUINEAS (1 May): Coral: 11-10 Zafonic, 20-1 Armiger, 25-1 Barathea, Desert Shot, Inchinor, Silver Wizard, Taos, Zeiten, 33-1 others. Hills: evens Zafonic, 25-1 Barathea, Blush Rambler, Firm Pledge, Inchinor, Silver Wizard, 33-1 others. Ladbroke: evens Zafonic, 25-1 Silver Wisp, Blush Rambler, Zeiten, Inchinor, Barathea, 33-1 others. Tote: evens Zafonic, 20-1 Barathea, Zieten, Desert Shot, Firm Pledge, Inchinor, Pembroke, Silver Wizard, 33-1 others.

THE DERBY (2 June): Coral: 7-1 Tenby & Armiger, 25-1 Barathea & Taos, 33-1 Urgent Request. Hills: 5-1 Zafonic, 6-1 Armiger, 7-1 Tenby, 25-1 Barathea, Blush Rambler & Taos, 33-1 others. Ladbrokes: 7-1 Armiger & Tenby, 16-1 Taos, 20-1 Barathea, 25-1 Regency, 33-1 others. Tote: 5- 1 Armiger, 8-1 Tenby, 20-1 Taos, 25-1 Barathea, Blush Rambler & Shaiba, 33-1 others.