Who’s going to win the 1,000 & 2,000 Guineas?
The colts’ Classic, the 2,000 Guineas, was first run in 1809; the fillies’ version, the 1,000 Guineas, followed in 1814. But who will be adding their names to those esteemed lists of Classic winners?
Qipco 2,000 Guineas – Saturday 30 April, 3.40pm
Godolphin’s trainer Charlie Appleby has won the Derby twice and the St Leger once but has never won either of the Newmarket Classics. In the last two renewals of the 2,000 Guineas, he’s finished third with Pinatubo in 2020 and second with Master Of The Seas last year. Now he has his best chance to finally take first prize.
Appleby saddles the hot favourite Native Trail, who’s a shade of odds-on in most places, but can be backed at evens with 888Sport. Native Trail is unbeaten in five starts, which include two Group 1s, namely the National Stakes in Ireland and the Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket.
Native Trail made his three-year-old debut in the Group 3 Craven Stakes at Newmarket on 13 April. It’s a long-established trial for the 2,000 Guineas. Starting at 4-1 (888Sport) on, defeat never looked in doubt, although he had to be pushed along entering the final furlong, but he ran on from that point and had 3½ lengths to spare over his rivals at the winning post. It didn’t look a particularly strong Craven Stakes field and he was entitled to win as he did.
If the 2,000 Guineas betting market is anything to go by, then Native Trail’s main danger may be lurking in the same stable block. Charlie Appleby’s second string Coroebus is available at 4-1 with SportNation . He finished second, beaten a neck, to Royal Patronage, in the Royal Lodge. Stakes here in September and followed that by winning the Group 3 Autumn Stakes, so he’s already got plenty of course and distance experience over Newmarket’s Rowley Mile.
While Appleby is looking for his first 2,000 Guineas success, Aidan O’Brien already has ten to his name. He’s almost sure to have two or three contenders but his main hope is Luxembourg, who’s a standout 5-1 with William Hill. . He’s unbeaten in three starts. Following a debut success at Killarney in July, he won the Beresford Stakes at the Curragh in September, then followed up with victory in the Group 1 Vertem Futurity at Doncaster in October. He appeared to idle when hitting the front that day but still won by 1¾ lengths.
O’Brien has stated that no horse excites him more heading into the new Flat season than Luxembourg. He also looks likely to run Point Lonsdale in a bid for a record-extending 11th 2,000 Guineas triumph. The pair worked alongside in a racecourse gallop after racing at the Curragh on 10 April.
It’s worth noting that all ten of O’Brien’s 2,000 Guineas winners were making their three-year-old debut. None of them had the benefit of a preparatory race. O’Brien prefers to rely on his state-of-the-art facilities at Ballydoyle and occasional racecourse gallops.
Point Lonsdale won his first four races, including Royal Ascot’s Chesham Stakes, the Group 3 Tyros Stakes and the Group 2 Futurity before finishing second, beaten 3½ lengths, by Native Trail in the National Stakes. He’s a 14-1 chance with Unibet to reverse the places.
The last northern-trained 2,000 Guineas winner was Mark Johnston’s Mister Baileys in 1994 – and he was the first since Scottish trainer George Boyd won it with 66-1 shot Rockavon in 1961. Yorkshire-based trainer Richard Fahey hopes to redress that imbalance with Perfect Power. He can be backed at a standout 11-1 with Ladbrokes. He’s won five of his seven starts including a pair of Group 1 contests, the Prix Morny and the Middle Park Stakes, both over 6 furlongs (1200m).
Perfect Power reappeared at Newbury on 16 April in the Greenham Stakes. The Greenham is another recognised 2,000 Guineas trial. The mighty Frankel (in 2011) was the last horse to win both races. Before that you have to go back almost 50 years for the previous one to do the double, that being Wollow in 1976. The Greenham was Perfect Power’s first start at 7 furlongs (1400m). Always prominent, he quickened well to beat last year’s July Stakes and Gimcrack winner Lusail by a fairly comfortable 1½ lengths.
Trainer Hugo Palmer won the 2,000 Guineas with Galileo Gold in 2016. He now bids for a second success in the race with Dubawi Legend, a 16-1 chance with Vbet. He finished second in the Dewhurst, two lengths behind Native Trail. He was then sent to Del Mar in California, where he finished a disappointing 10th of 13 in the Breeder’s Cup Juvenile Turf.
Roger Varian’s runner Bayside Boy is already acquainted with two of the top three in the betting, having finished third to Native Trail in the Dewhirst and occupied the same position behind Luxembourg in the Vertem Futurity. Prior to those efforts he’d won the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster, a race in which Lusail finished last of the four runners, beaten 3½ lengths. Bayside Boy is a standout 40-1 chance with bet365.
Varian also trains Eydon, who made a big impression when landing Newmarket’s Feilden Stakes at odds of 22-1 (Mr Play) on 14 April. He is available at 25-1 with Boylesports. However, the Feilden was over a mile and a furlong (1800m) and it’s hard to see him dropping back in distance for the 2,000 Guineas when York’s Dante Stakes over a mile and a quarter (2000m) would seem a more obvious target.
Richard Hannon won the 2,000 Guineas in 2014 with Night Of Thunder. He runs Lusail, who was running on in the closing stages when second to Perfect Power in the Greenham, giving the impression that the extra furlong of the Guineas trip may be up his street. He’s 50-1 with Ladbrokes. It’s a big price and there are plenty of worse outsiders.
Two interesting longshots come into the race defending unbeaten records. William Knight’s Checkandchallenge has only won a pair of all-weather contests, albeit the second of those was a Listed race at Newcastle on 15 April. The 2,000 Guineas obviously demands far more, added to which he’s tackling turf for the first rime. Even at 25-1 on offer with Coral, he makes little appeal.
The David Simcock-trained Light Infantry also won both his starts at two. He followed a debut win at Yarmouth with victory in the Group 3 Horris Hill Stakes at Newbury in October, despite hanging badly right in the closing stages. Widely available at 33-1 (Betfair) for the 2,000 Guineas, he falls into the ‘could be anything’ category.
Charlie and Mark Johnston have entered Royal Patronage, winner of the Group 3 Acomb Stakes at York and the Group 2 Royal Lodge at Newmarket. He was sent off third favourite when raised to Group 1 level in the Vertem Futurity but finished last of eight. However, you can put a line through that effort because he was struck into on his left hind and was eased down by his jockey. He’s 33-1 with Betway to bounce back to winning ways.
Native Trail has the form in the book. He’s a skinny price but looks the best chance yet of giving Charlie Appleby his first 2,000 Guineas victory. For those seeking a sporting each-way bet on a longshot, the 50-1 offered by Ladbrokes on Lusail may be worth a small investment.
Qipco 1,000 Guineas – Sunday 1 May, 3.40pm
With Fillies Mile heroine and long-time ante-post favourite Inspiral being ruled out, having had an interrupted preparation, the betting market for 1,000 Guineas is beginning to resemble a race at the Cheltenham Festival. There’s no British-trained runner on offer at single-figure odds. Ireland once again holds the key, with a couple of French fillies also in the mix.
Aidan O’Brien has won five of the last six 1,000 Guineas and his main representative Tenebrism is widely available at 11-4 (10bet) to make it six of the last seven. She’s two from two. Having won a Naas maiden last March, she wasn’t seen in action again for six months, when she sprang a 14-1 (bet365) surprise under jockey Ryan Moore in the Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket.
O’Brien has a second 1,000 Guineas arrow to fire in Tuesday, who stayed on well in the closing stages to win a one-mile maiden at Naas on 27 March. This is a huge step up in grade but O’Brien has done this sort of thing before. Unibet go 13-2 about her making a successful transition to Group 1 level.
For all his success on a worldwide stage during a long and glorious training career, Dermot Weld has never won the 1,000 Guineas. He bids to right that omission with Homeless Songs, who leapt to prominence when winning the Group 3 1,000 Guineas Trial at Leopardstown, beating Joseph O’Brien’s filly Agartha by a length. Paddy Power go 13-2 about her chances .
On a strict collateral line of form there’s little between Homeless Songs and Jessica Harrington’s runner Discoveries. She beat Agartha by three-quarters of a length when winning the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes at the Curragh. She too can be backed at 6-1 with Coral.
France last won the 1,000 Guineas in 2014 when the aptly-named Miss France beat Lightning Thunder by a neck. Her trainer, Andre Fabre, brings over Zellie, winner of last year’s Prix Marcel Boussac at Longchamp on Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe weekend. Again, there’s a form line with Agartha, who finished fourth that day, beaten five lengths. Zellie can be backed at 10-1 (BoyleSports) as well with most betting sites.
Zellie finished second on her seasonal reappearance, beaten 1½ lengths, in the Prix Imprudence on heavy ground over Deauville’s straight seven furlongs. He conqueror that day was Malavath, trained by Francis-Henri Graffard. Malavath has only won on good to soft or heavy, but she did finish second on firm ground in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Del Mar in November. She’s a 7-1 (Mr Play) chance as well with most major firms.
And so, at last, we come to the British contingent, led by George Boughey’s recent Nell Gwyn Stakes winner Cachet. The Nell Gwyn is the main 1,000 Guineas trial, although Speciosa (in 2006) was the last filly to win both races. Cachet has only won two of her nine starts, but has finished third in the Rockfel Stakes and the Fillies Mile, both at Newmarket, and fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, just a head and a neck behind the runner-up Malavath.
It was hard not to be impressed with the manner of Cachet’s Nell Gwyn Stakes victory. She was a 50-1 (LeoVegas) shot for the 1,000 Guineas before that success. She’s now down to a best-priced 16-1 with bet365 and Wiliam Hill but even those much-reduced odds look good value.
Like Malavath and Cachet, the Godolphin runner Wild Beauty also crossed the Atlantic last year. In her case the destination was Canada, where she landed the Grade 1 Natalma Stakes at Woodbine. She reappeared in the Dubai Duty Free, better known as the Fred Darling Stakes at Newbury on 16 April, producing a hard-fought half-length success over the favourite Jumbly.
During the 1990s, four Fred Darling Stakes winners – Salsabil (1990), Shadayid (1991), Bosra Sham (1996) and Wince (1999) – went on to win the 1,000 Guineas, but its 21st century heroines have so far failed to emulate that illustrious quartet. However, there’s been money for Wild Beauty in recent days, causing her odds to fall from 16-1 (888sport) to a best-priced 12-1 with Betfred, so maybe she can uphold the Fred Darling form and restore the race’s prominence as a 1,000 Guineas trial.
Up and coming trainer James Ferguson runs Mise En Scene. Winner of the Group 3 Prestige Stakes at Goodwood, she subsequently finished fourth in the Fillies Mile, only a short-head behind Cachet and half a length in front of Wild Beauty. She too was sent to California for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf but could only finish a lacklustre tenth. Nonetheless, there’s been plenty of support for her and she’s now down to a best-priced best-priced 12-1 with Ladbrokes for the 1,000 Guineas.
While Speciosa was the last Nell Gwyn Stakes winner to go on and take the 1,000 Guineas, a couple of the beaten Nell Gwyn runners have done well in the Guineas in recent times. In the last four years, Billesdon Brook (2018) and Saffron Beach (2021) were both defeated in the Nell Gwyn before finishing first and second respectively a few weeks later the 1,000 Guineas.