2,000 & 1,000 Guineas Betting Tips – 6th & 7th May 2017

The 2000 Guineas is the first British Classic of the flat racing season. The Group 1 race is run every year over the Rowley Mile at Newmarket and always attracts a big crowd and huge interest from punters.

2,000 Guineas

With so many of the contenders making their first appearance of the season it is always a little tricky to know what to expect of the talented three year olds in the field. However, we can be fairly certain that we’re in for a cracking renewal this year with what looks to be a four way tussle if the betting markets are anything to go by.

Trends To Look Out For

It’s not strange to have a clear favourite in the betting for the 2000 Guineas. That’s the case this year with the Aidan O’Brien-trained Churchill whose connections will be happy enough to know that the last 10 renewals have seen four winning favourites. This is, however, a race that has seen its fair share of upsets with winners at 33/1 and 40/1 in recent years.

There is no doubt that only the most impressive two year olds from last season have a genuine chance of winning the 2000 Guineas. All of the last 10 winners had reached a rating of 124 or higher while most of the most recent victors won a Group race the previous season. You’ve also got to bare the trip in mind as few have made the 2000 Guineas their first win over a mile.

Betting Tips

  • Main Pick – Churchill to win at 6/4 with Bet365
  • Alternative Tip – Lancaster Bomber each way at 33/1 with Ladbrokes

Aidan O’Brien knows exactly what it takes to win a Classic. He’s saddled the winner of the 2000 Guineas seven times and he’s certainly got a very impressive chance of adding another win to his record on Saturday. The most likely of his candidates is the bookies’ favourite, Churchill, and for good reason.

Churchill couldn’t have done too much more to impress racing fans as a two year old. Yes, he’s yet to beat any of his closest rivals for Saturday’s race but his only defeat came on debut at Curragh. After getting that out of his system, Churchill won five on the trot including the Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket. The other main question mark over Churchill is whether or not he can step up to the mile having won exclusively over seven furlongs. Well, his breeding (he’s a son of Galileo) and the noises coming out of O’Brien’s yards suggest that won’t be an issue so he looks very much like the one to beat at a best price of 6/4 with Churchill.

As we’ve seen big odds winners of the 2000 Guineas when the favourite fails, it could be well worth getting Lancaster Bomber on board at 33/1 with Ladbrokes. Another O’Brien horse with a chance, he finished second at the Dewhurst to his stablemate and came close to winning over a mile last season. Unlike many of his rivals on Saturday, Lancaster Bomber’s already run this year and if the improvement that connections have been seeing continues, he could represent a very good each way option.

1,000 Guineas

One day after the first Classic of the year, Newmarket hosts the second with the 1000 Guineas. The race is run over the same straight Rowley Mile course and is contested by three-year-olds but is only open to fillies.

The nature of the 1000 Guineas means that people are always looking at the most impressive two-year-old fillies the season before. In respect of this year’s renewal, most people are talking about the strength of the Irish fillies in contention. Bookies’ favourite Rhododendron and stablemate Hydrangea caught the eye particularly over course and distance at the Newmarket Fillies’ Mile.

Trends To Look Out For

With many of the runners making their first appearance of the season, the 1000 Guineas is no easy race to crack for punters. There are, however, some important trends to consider which will hopefully make it a little easier to pick a winner.

These may only be three year olds but past winners of the 1000 Guineas have all shown previous good form. Each of the last 10 winners won at least two races as two year olds, nine of 10 placed inside the top two of a Group race and eight of 10 had won over seven furlongs with half previously winning over a mile. It’s also interesting to note that seven winners over the last decade were not trained in Britain.

Betting Tips

  • Main Pick – Hydrangea at 12/1 with Ladbrokes
  • Alternative Tip – Poet’s Vanity at 20/1 with Sky Bet

There are many reasons to follow the bookies and support Rhododendron but you could say the same about her stablemate, Hydrangea. Whereas the favourite is making her seasonal reappearance, Hydrangea already has a 2017 run in her legs when winning the 1000 Guineas Trial at Leopardstown in April.

Aidan O’Brien is one of the finest flat racing trainers in the world. You can be sure that he’ll have left no stone unturned in preparing Hydrangea for Sunday’s race but some believe that his yard find it a little hard to rank their young fillies. In the 2000 Guineas it’s clear that Churchill is O’Brien’s best shot but it’s much tougher to split Hydrangea and Rhododendron.

They both tick many of the boxes in terms of the key trends to consider and have form at Newmarket but having already got her season underway and with more improvement to come, Hydrangea looks the value bet at 12/1 with Ladbrokes.

We’ve seen a number of big odds winners come from seemingly nowhere to win the 1000 Guineas so there’s always the chance that one of the less fancied horses will come up trumps on Sunday. It wouldn’t be fair to say that Poet’s Vanity has come from nowhere but she’s definitely not one of the favourites at a best price of 20/1 with Sky Bet. Lightly raced, even for a three year old, the Andrew Balding-trained Poet’s Vanity has won two of her four starts and achieved a BHA rating of 104 after placing third at Newmarket last month. The step up to a mile could suit her well which makes her a good each way option at 20/1.

About the Guineas Festival

The two-day Guineas Festival is held at the track regarded as the headquarters of flat racing, Newmarket. It may not be the first flat meeting of the season but it does mark the occasion when the campaign really begins to take off. For many owners, breeders, trainers and jockeys, the races which shape their entire season more than any other are the five British Classic contests, the first two of which come right here in early May.

Year upon year there are mighty reputations aplenty headed into this meeting, and it is here where many a bubble is burst, and the genuine stars emerge into the limelight. The two showpiece contests held on the Rowley Mile of course take centre stage, but there’s plenty more on offer besides, including a host of cracking handicap action and further Group contests. Here we take a closer look at the standout events.

2000 Guineas

This contest really needs very little introduction. Acting as the first Classic of the season, the 2000 Guineas is without doubt one of the most anticipated races of the year. Held over the straight mile, this is a top tier Group 1 affair. Traditionally thought of as a race for the three year old colts, fillies are actually permitted to enter, although it is exceptionally rare for them to do so these days. In addition to the undoubted prestige and massively enhanced breeding value, there is also plenty of prize money up for grabs – £500,000 in 2018 – making this one of the biggest targets of the season for the very best of the three year olds in training.

Having first been run in 1809, its hard to know where to start when picking out the best of the previous winners. Nijinsky, Brigadier Gerard, Dancing Brave, Nashwan, Sea The Stars, and of course the greatest racehorse of all time, Frankel, all stormed to victory here during their illustrious careers.

Of course with it being exclusively for three year olds, there are no multiple winners amongst the horses, but that’s the case with jockeys and trainers. Ahead of the 2019 renewal Aidan O’Brien was the leading trainer with a staggering nine victories to his name between the years of 1998 and 2018. For the jockeys we have to look much further back in the history books: James “Jem” Robinson won an impressive nine renewals of the 2000 Guineas between 1825 and 1848 – and he rode a further 15 Classic winners in his illustrious career.

The first 2000 Guineas race in 1809 was won by a horse called Wizard, who was second in the Derby later than season. The fastest recorded winning time of the 2000 Guineas was 1:35.08 when the Andre Fabre-trained Pennekamp won in 1995.

1000 Guineas

The reason the majority of the classiest fillies in the business don’t bother with the 2000 Guineas is that they have a Classic contest all of their own at this meeting. Open to three year old fillies, the Group 1, 1000 Guineas is the spectacular highlight on the Sunday card. Held over the same one-mile course as the 2000 Guineas, the race matches the Saturday showpiece in prize money – again £500,000 in 2018 – and annually attracts the top performers of the fairer sex to Suffolk.

Coming into existence in 1814 – five years after the 2000 Guineas – the list of previous winners here reads like something of a hall of fame of the best fillies to have ever graced the turf. Pretty Polly, Sun Chariot, Musidora and a clutch of others were all good enough to warrant having a race named in their honour, whilst in more recent times, Russian Rhythm, Attraction, Minding and Winter are amongst those to have scorched the turf.

We have to glance back to the 1800s for the leading trainer and jockey for the 1000 Guineas. George Fordham was certainly the top dog when he was around: he was the Champion Jockey every year from 1855 to 1863. He has also won the 1000 Guineas more times than any other jockey having rode to success seven times between 1859 and 1883. For the trainers, the “Emperor of Trainers” Robert Robson still leads the way with nine wins, despite these coming between 1818 and 1827.

Other Key Races

Jockey Club Stakes

Topping the bill on the Saturday undercard is this 1m4f Group 2 contest open to all runners aged four and older which offered £105,000 in total prize money in 2018. Lester Piggott had a particular affinity for this race during his legendary career, racking up seven wins between 1950 and 1982.

Previous St Leger winners have fared well when stepping down in trip here in the past, with Sixties Icon and Silver Patriarch amongst the previous winners. In terms of subsequent achievements 2002 champ Marienbard may have been the best of the lot, with the Godolphin runner going on to cause something of a shock when landing that season’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

Dahlia Stakes

With the Sunday of this meeting being lit up the opening fillies’ Classic of the season, it is fitting that there is something of a fillies theme to the day overall. Pick of the supporting acts is this contest named in honour of one of the all-time greats – the dual King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes winner, Dahlia.

Held over 1m1f, this Group 2 event is open to all fillies and mares aged four and older and offered £105,000 in total prize money in 2018. One of the newer races at this meeting, this contest was first run in 1997 and has consistently attracted the best of the fillies and mares to have been kept in training beyond their Classic season. Topping the list of winners in the first 22 editions of the race was the Charlie Appleby filly Wuheida, who also counted a win in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf to her name.

History

One of the real selling points of British Horse Racing is the underlying history of the biggest events of the season. They don’t come any bigger than the Classics, and it is on the back of the 2000 and 1000 Guineas – both over 200 years old now – that this two-day cracker of a meeting has been built.

The “Guineas” of the titles of these races refers to the unit of currency used in the initial prize fund all those years ago. A Guinea being equal to 21 shillings, and for those wondering what a shilling is, they equates to around 5p, so 21 of them is £1.05 in today’s money.

There have been numerous memorable moments at this meeting over the years, with the 2000 Guineas in particular being the scene of many an unforgettable contest. From the brilliance of Brigadier Gerard in 1971, to Aidan O’Brien becoming the all-time most successful trainer in the history of the race with the success of Churchill in 2017. Our own personal favourite though was the utter disdain with which Frankel treat his rivals in 2011, in a performance which really had to be seen to be believed. If future years are to be anything like as good as those gone by, this meeting looks set to continue top serve up an early season treat.

The 2000 Guineas makes up a third of the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing along with the Derby and the St Leger. There have been 15 Triple Crown winners over the years, with Nijinsky being the most recent, in 1970.

The Fillies Triple Crown, meanwhile, comprises of the 1000 Guineas, the Epsom Oaks and the St Leger. There have been nine winners of the Fillies Triple Crown, with Oh So Sharp being the last in 1985.

Astoundingly, there has been a horse that has won FOUR Classics in a season. In 1902 the filly Sceptre won the 2000 Guineas, the 1000 Guineas, the Epsom Oaks and the St Leger to write herself into the history books. This went one better than the 1868 effort of Formosa who won the Fillies Triple Crown (the first to do so) and also dead heated in the 2000 Guineas.