For many flat racing fans, Newmarket’s Guineas meeting, usually held at the beginning of May, is what they have been waiting for all winter. The season may have officially started before this but it moves full throttle into top gear with the opening Classic contest of the season, the 2000 Guineas.
The race was inaugurated over 200 years ago in 1809 and is named after the original prize money, where one Guinea was worth 21 Shillings.
For some horses this will be their first run of the season leaving many to look for pointers from the big two-year-old trials for this which include the Dewhurst Stakes, also run at Newmarket, and Doncaster’s Vertem Futurity Trophy.
Next Race: Saturday, 1st May 2021
The next race is scheduled to run on 1st May 2021. The race info, trends and tips shown below will be updated for the next renewal once the final declarations have been made.
Last Run: 6th June 2020
- Winner: Kameko
- SP: 10/1
- Trainer: Andrew Balding
- Jockey: Oisin Murphy
1m is the trip for this Group 1 Classic contest which this year offers £250,000 in guaranteed prize money. The ground at the track is currently described as good to firm, which may be of a slight advantage to the speed horses in the field and is unlikely to change between now and race day.
|Going||Distance||Grade||Prize Money||Runners||EW Terms|
|Good to Firm||1m||Group 1||£250,000||15 Runners||1/5 1-3|
2000 Guineas Betting Tips
Note: The following tips are from 2020. Tips for the next renewal will be added once the final declarations have been made.
The long wait is over, as this Saturday sees the first Classic contest of the British flat racing season. It may be the Derby that we are used to tuning into on the first Saturday in June, but in this strangest of all years it will instead be the 2000 Guineas which takes place on “Derby Day”. We are just pleased to have top-class racing back on our screens, and this contest looks set to be a cracker. It certainly will be one to enjoy if our huge-odds tips delivers the goods too.
Aidan O’Brien has been the man to follow in this race having posted a record setting 10 successes in the race, and goes for a remarkable fourth consecutive victory this year. The Ballydoyle maestro will as ever be strongly represented, with four of the final 15 horses going to post hailing from his yard.
There have been a couple of shocks in this race in the past decade – most notably 33/1 shot Makfi in 2010 and 40/1 outsider Night Of Thunder who came home in front in 2014 – but overall this has been a good race for favourite backers. Five of the past 10 jollies have obliged, this 50% strike rate returning a level stakes profit of 4.25 units.
|Pinatubo||5/6||128||Charlie Appleby||William Buick|
|Arizona||11/2||116||Aidan O'Brien||Ryan Moore|
|Kameko||7/1||118||Andrew Balding||Oisin Murphy|
|Cepheus||66/1||-||Brian Meehan||Jim Crowley|
Clear market leader this time around is the horse who last season posted a higher juvenile rating than that achieved by the mighty Frankel. Named after a volcano, Godolphin’s Pinatubo certainly erupted onto the scene in winning all six of his racecourse appearances at the age of two. The last two of those came in Group 1 company, including a monstrous display when slamming the National Stakes field at the Curragh.
He was more workmanlike than spectacular when following up at this track in the Dewhurst, but likely wasn’t in love with the soft ground that day, and did at least show that he handles the track. The ground will be more to his taste here and he has to be considered a worthy favourite.
Miles clear of the field on official ratings, the big question is will he be able to maintain that advantage as a three year old, as for every Frankel – who blew everything away at two, three and four – there is an Air Force Blue, who was brilliant at two but sunk without trace in this race. There is of course no good reason to believe that Pinatubo won’t have trained on, and the son of Shamardal is clearly the one they all have to beat. But is he the value here the wrong side of evens?
Heading up the Aidan O’Brien squadron is the No Nay Never colt, Arizona – a half-brother to last year’s beaten favourite in this race – Ten Sovereigns. Will Arizona be able to better the performance of his sibling?
Possibly, but he does have significant ground to make up with Pinatubo on their juvenile form. Beaten nearly 10 lengths by the Godolphin runner in the National Stakes, he cut that gap to two lengths in the Dewhurst, but was if anything falling further behind as they hit the line in that 7f contest. As such, this step up in trip wouldn’t be sure to be in his favour.
Of course, no man knows what it takes to win this race more than Aidan O’Brien, and the fact that he is the shortest priced of his four contenders does suggest he is showing all the right signs at home. There was also significant encouragement to be gained from his final start last season. That run came over this trip in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, and whilst he could fill only fifth position, he was doing all his best work late to only be beaten 1¾l at the line.
Next in the list comes the Andrew Balding runner, Kameko. Going in the Qatar Racing Limited silks made famous by Roaring Lion and others, like that John Gosden-trained runner, this one is also by the US sire Kitten’s Joy. Four-time Group 1 winner Roaring Lion could only manage a slightly unlucky fifth in this race, but there are plenty of good judges who believe his half-brother Kameko may well fare better.
A winner of two of his four starts as a juvenile, it was his effort in the re-routed Vertem Futurity Trophy on his final start which saw him head towards the top of the market for this race. Hitting the front over a furlong from home that day, he never once looked like getting caught and scored by a comfortable 3¼l at Newcastle’s all-weather track.
A repeat of that effort does bring him into contention, but he was beaten in a Group 2 over this course and distance last season, so does still need to prove he can be as effective on turf. 7/1 may tempt some but the one for us is priced at almost 10 times that!
Of those at bigger prices, one who may well be worth a second look is the Brian Meehan representative, Cepheus. Raced just the once as a two year old, he went straight into our notebook when getting up close home to score over 7f at this track in August. The winning margin was only narrow that day, but he looked to have plenty left in the tank to our eyes, and the runner up followed up in a six-length canter next time out.
Clearly this fairly unheralded runner is still going to need to step up markedly on that performance, but he has long been held in high regard by his trainer and is by a sire in Sea The Stars who of course won this race in 2009. It would be something of a surprise were he to win, but he at least seems certain to stay the trip, which can’t be said of all of these and at the prices is our each way bet in the race.
2000 Guineas Winners
|2020||Kameko||10/1||Andrew Balding||Oisin Murphy|
|2019||Magna Grecia||11/2||Aidan O'Brien||Donnacha O'Brien|
|2018||Saxon Warrior||3/1||Aidan O’Brien||Donnacha O’Brien|
|2017||Churchill||6/4||Aidan O’Brien||Ryan Moore|
|2016||Galileo Gold||14/1||Hugo Palmer||Frankie Dettori|
|2015||Gleneagles||4/1||Aidan O’Brien||Ryan Moore|
|2014||Night Of Thunder||40/1||Richard Hannon||Kieren Fallon|
|2013||Dawn Approach||11/8||Jim Bolger||Kevin Manning|
|2012||Camelot||15/8||Aidan O'Brien||Joseph O'Brien|
|2011||Frankel||1/2||Henry Cecil||Tom Queally|
About the 2000 Guineas: The Mile Classic
Flat racing is in rude health by pretty much every standard. The sport’s powers that be are always looking towards the future to try and continue its growth with the addition of new funding and races but a key strength of Flat racing is its history.
There are few more historic races in the sport than the 2000 Guineas. It’s the first of the five British Classics and was first run way, way back in 1809. As with all five Classics, the 2000 Guineas is open only to three-year-olds and is technically open to both colts and fillies but it’s incredibly rare for fillies to run in this contest rather than the 1000 Guineas which takes place the following day.
Both the 2000 and 1000 Guineas are usually held in either the end of April or start of May at Newmarket. They also both take place over 1m and as of 2019 both had an impressive and lucrative total prize fund of £500,000, this was halved for 2020.
An Increasingly Specialist Race
Throughout the history of Flat racing the mark of the very best horses was completing the Triple Crown. For colts the Triple Crown begins with the 2000 Guineas before moving onto the Derby and the St Leger. Saxon Warrior’s win in the 2018 race showed that there is still a great appetite for the Triple Crown as he was bred for longer trips but got the job done over 1m and his subsequent defeat in the Derby was highly disappointing.
That disappointment reflected the feeling that we may never see another horse complete the Triple Crown. The 2000 Guineas is following the general trend of specialism in Flat racing. Horses are increasingly being targeted specifically for this and other big races over 1m and few trainers now regard this as a step towards the other Classics. Indeed, it is now extremely rare to see a horse even enter all three legs, let alone manage to win them.
2000 Guineas Still Creates Legends
The understandable lack of horses who even attempt the Triple Crown now does not necessarily detract from the 2000 Guineas. Yes, those three-year-olds who have won three Classics deserve their place in history but horse racing moves on. The 2000 Guineas is still a race which produces horses who go on to have even bigger success with the likes of Churchill, Camelot, Frankel and Sea The Stars all winning since 2009.
Camelot and Sea The Stars both went on to win the Derby but the one thing those four all had in common is high class juvenile form. In fact, that is almost a prerequisite for success in the 2000 Guineas. The majority of recent winners had already won at the Group level during their two-year-old season with many claiming success at the top level.
In terms of the individual juvenile races, punters should keep an eye on the Dewhurst Stakes which is run over 7f at the same course as the 2000 Guineas, the Rowley Mile at Newmarket. It also carries a massive purse of half a million pounds so attracts entries from high class prospects and has been won in recent years by Churchill, Dawn Approach and arguably the best of them all, Frankel, before their Guineas success.
Dual Dewhurst & 2000 Guineas Winners: 1875 – 2020
|Horse||Trainer||Dewhurst Win||2000 Guineas Win|
|Dawn Approach||Jim Bolger||2012||2013|
|Rock Of Gibraltar||Aidan O’Brien||2001||2002|
|El Grand Senor||Vincent O’Brien||1983||1984|
|Kennymore||Alec Taylor Jnr||1913||1914|
|Rock Sand||George Blackwell||1902||1903|
|St Frusquin||Alfred Hayhoe||1895||1896|
Connections took Camelot on a different route as a two-year-old. He won the Vertem Futurity Trophy (formerly the Racing Post Trophy) at Doncaster. That Group 1, 1m race has produced several 2000 Guineas hopefuls but between the race’s inauguration in 1961 it has only produced five 2000 Guineas winners. That said, with Camelot, Saxon Warrior, Magna Grecia and Kameko, 4 out of the last 9 Futurity Stakes winners have gone on to win both races, a strike rate of 44%.
Dual Futurity Trophy & 2000 Guineas Winners: 1961 – 2020
|Horse||Trainer||Futurity Trophy Win||2000 Guineas Win|
|Magna Grecia||Aidan O’Brien||2018||2019|
|Saxon Warrior||Aidan O’Brien||2017||2018|
|High Top||Bernard van Cutsem||1971||1972|
A Lively Betting Heat
When Frankel turned up to Newmarket for the 2000 Guineas in 2011 everybody in racing knew that he was a special horse. Nobody could have predicted the dominant nature of his win but he was sent off at 1/2 with the bookies so his win was entirely predictable.
Frankel’s win was the first in a run of three consecutive favourites to win the 2000 Guineas. Gleneagles and Churchill also rewarded favourite backers in 2015 and 2017 whilst Saxon Warrior was second favourite in 2018.
Clearly the market often has a good handle on the 2000 Guineas but that is not always the case. In the 11 races that preceded Saxon Warrior’s win there were five winners at double figure odds including Makfi at 33/1 and Night Of Thunder at 40/1.
Analysing the prices of winners doesn’t provide any strong trends and the same is true of previous course form with many horses claiming the 2000 Guineas on their Newmarket debut. Similarly, a previous victory over 1m is not a requirement providing the horse had high class form over 7f whilst a juvenile.
Aidan O’Brien Always a Good Place to Start
As mentioned already, the 2000 Guineas has well over 200 years of history. The fact that Aidan O’Brien is the most successful trainer in the race’s history having claimed his first win in 1998 shows just how dominant he’s been recently.
Aidan O’Brien’s 2000 Guineas Victories
|Year||Horse||Jockey||Horse’s Start Price|
|2019||Magna Grecia||Donnacha O’Brien||11/2|
|2018||Saxon Warrior||Donnacha O’Brien||3/1|
|2017||Churchill||Ryan Moore||6/4 f|
|2015||Gleneagles||Ryan Moore||4/1 f|
|2012||Camelot||Joseph O’Brien||15/8 f|
|2006||George Washington||Kieren Fallon||6/4 f|
|2002||Rock Of Gibraltar||Johnny Murtagh||9/1|
|1998||King Of Kings||Michael Kinane||7/2|
Magna Grecia was the tenth horse trained by O’Brien to win the 2000 Guineas. John Magnier and his wife Sue have been involved in the ownership of all ten of those winners alongside other notable owners including Sir Alex Ferguson and Michael Tabor. O’Brien’s success has greatly helped the record of Irish-trained horses who have had the better of those trained in Britain in recent years.
O’Brien has partnered with six different jockeys over those wins including his sons Donnacha and Joseph, regular partner Ryan Moore and Kieren Fallon as well. Each of those top notch jockeys has won multiple huge races but it’s highly unlikely they or anybody else in the weight room of Newmarket in future will catch the record of nine wins set by Jem Robinson between 1825 and 1848.