Qipco 2000 Guineas Stakes Betting Tips & Predictions – Newmarket, Saturday 4th May 2019

For many flat racing fans, this coming Saturday at Newmarket is the day they have been waiting for all winter. The season may have officially started already but it has really been no more than trundling along so far; on Saturday it moves into full throttle top gear with the opening Classic contest of the season, the 2000 Guineas.

We look to have a strong group of colts in the three year old division this season, with many of the most promising runners from all of the top yards set to line up here. Charley Appleby recorded a significant career milestone with a first Derby win last season, and we will be backing him to add another Classic to his CV here.

Top Tips

Al Hilalee each way @ 12/1

Odds correct at time of writing but may have changed since. Check site for latest prices.

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Race Info

One mile is the trip for this Group 1 contest which offers a total of £523,750 in prize money. The ground at the track is currently described as good to firm.

GoingDistanceGradePrize MoneyRunnersEW Terms
Good To Firm 1m Group 1 £523,750 19 Runners 1/5 1-3

Recent Winners

Overall the market has been your best guide to finding the winner here in recent years, with five of the past eight favourites obliging. When the market gets it wrong though it can get it very wrong, as evidenced by 40/1 winner Night Of Thunder in 2014 and 33/1 shot Makfi in 2010.

Winner of four of the past seven editions of this, Aidan O’Brien is the most successful trainer in the history of the contest with nine wins in all. O’Brien has two set to go to post this year, in the form of Magna Grecia and Ten Sovereigns.

YearWinnerSPTrainerJockey
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

Analysis: Al Looks Ace For Appleby

Ireland have landed five of the past seven editions and, with the current top three in the betting market all crossing the Irish Sea for this, look to boast strong claims of extending that run of dominance.

This looks an open Guineas though and there are a whole host of British based runners who seem likely to at least give Aidan O’Brien and co something to think about.

Ten To Make It Ten For Aidan?

Aidan O’Brien could well register his 10th 2000 Guineas this year, and the horse most likely to do it – at least according to the market – goes by the name of Ten Sovereigns. Having been hovering around favouritism for the race for some time now, this one has now received the Ryan Moore seal of approval and emerged as the clear market leader.

Unbeaten in three starts to date, and already a Group 1 winner at the track, having come home in front in the Middle Park Stakes here last season, he’s the top-rated runner in the field at present and probably does just about boast the best form. The only trouble is, each of those three wins have come over 6f. That wouldn’t be too much of a concern if he had stamina in his pedigree, but being by crack sprinter No Nay Never, this step up in trip does look a question mark.

Magnificent Magna?

O’Brien’s Magna Grecia may have been passed over by Ryan Moore, but there surely can’t have been much in the decision and, on balance, this one would boast the more attractive profile for a race of this nature. Being by Invincible Spirit and out of a Galileo mare, he would be expected to thrive at around this trip on breeding, and has backed up that promise with his efforts at the track to date.

Two from three in his career to date, his only defeat came when going down by just a neck to French star Persian King over this course and distance in the Autumn Stakes. That was still an excellent effort, and we at least now know that he handles the dip here. Last sighted bursting through late to win the Group 1 Vertem Futurity Trophy over this trip at Doncaster, he looks to have an excellent chance going in the hands of Donnacha O’Brien who won the race aboard Saxon Warrior last season.

Hilalee Home In Front?

Following a few years in the doldrums, Godolphin have now once again emerged as one of the major forces on the global stage, and look to boast a strong hand here in Dark Vison, Royal Marine and Al Hilalee. Royal Marine ran a fair trial in the Craven last time out and can go well with the hood back on, but preference is for Al Hilalee.

This beautifully bred individual went straight into our notebook of horses to follow when trotting up on debut over 7f at this track, and whilst he wasn’t as visually impressive when scoring at Listed level on his second start, that race looked to be run at something of a muddling gallop, and he still showed both a good attitude – and that he stays this trip – to come out on top. He does need to step up again, but has done nothing wrong to date, and is in the right hands to do so.

Final Verdict: Al Hilalee each way

We like Magna Grecia, but the fact that Moore takes the ride on Ten Sovereigns does suggest that one is showing plenty at home. Those pedigree concerns are just too great for us to back him at such a short price though.

It’s Al Hilalee for us here. By Dubawi and out of a mare by Derby winner Authorized, he makes masses of appeal on paper, we know he handles the track well enough, and he can go close for last season’s Derby winning trainer Charlie Appleby.

About the 2000 Guineas: The Mile Classic

Parade Ring at Newmarket's Rowley Mile Racecourse

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 held in either the end of April or start of May at Newmarket. They also both take place over 1m and as of 2018 both had an impressive and lucrative total prize fund of £500,000.

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 2019 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.

Chart Showing the Classic Campaigns on the Last Twenty 2000 Guineas Winners

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.

Recent Dewhurst & 2000 Guineas Winners

HorseTrainerDewhurst Win2000 Guineas Win
Churchill Aidan O'Brien 2016 2017
Dawn Approach Jim Bolger 2012 2013
Frankel Henry Cecil 2010 2011
Rock Of Gibraltar Aidan O'Brien 2001 2002

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 1974 and 2018 Camelot and Saxon Warrior were the only two horses to win both races.

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.

Chart Showing the Start Price of the Last Twenty 2000 Guineas Winners

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

YearHorseJockeyHorse's Start Price
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
2008 Henrythenavigator Johnny Murtagh 11/1
2006 George Washington Kieren Fallon 6/4 f
2005 Footstepsinthesand Kieren Fallon 13/2
2002 Rock Of Gibraltar Johnny Murtagh 9/1
1998 King Of Kings Michael Kinane 7/2

Saxon Warrior was the ninth horse trained by O’Brien to win the 2000 Guineas. John Magnier and his wife Sue have been involved in the ownership of all nine 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.

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