2000 & 1000 Guineas Betting Tips – 4th & 5th May 2019

Horse and Bridle Close Up ViewThe flat racing season is already well underway as we move into May but for many it doesn’t truly start until the Guineas Meeting at Newmarket.

Thousands of racing fans will turn up to the Suffolk course to take in the first two Classics of the season and both the 1000 and 2000 Guineas are shaping up to be particularly open with some great opportunities for punters. It’s not just about the Guineas though as there are excellent cards on Saturday and Sunday and we’ve picked out the best bets from the big races for you below.

Can Al Hilalee Spring a Surprise?

Al Hilalee has turned plenty of heads despite only making two racecourse performances so far. After his wins at Newmarket and Deauville, the Godolphin owned son of Dubawi was rested and sent to Dubai. The 2000 Guineas was never really in the plan with the Derby looking a much more likely target, however, a gallop at Meydan quickly changed the minds of the team behind Al Hilalee who has been supplemented for the 2000 Guineas and went into the betting at a best price of 16/1 with Ladbrokes. There is a lot of interest in this late entry but can he secure a surprise win?

Weather

Weather Forecast For Newmarket Racecourse During the 2019 Guineas Festival

Forecast via Met Office

The weather for the two days of the Guineas Festival looks quite pleasant. It’s not forecast to be particularly warm with highs of just 13oC but it will at least be dry for those heading to Newmarket for the weekend. That’s not the case over the week as plenty of rain has fallen which may see the ground ease from good to firm to good.

2000 Guineas – Saturday, 3:35, Group 1, 1m

The ante post betting for the 2000 Guineas was dominated by Too Darn Hot. His win in the Dewhurst Stakes marked him out as a worthy favourite but the betting underwent a major shakeup when Too Darn Hot was ruled out of the 2000 Guineas. That’s a real shame for ante post punters who took advantage of the early prices but it has done very good things for the race as a spectacle and a betting heat.

The two favourites for the 2000 Guineas – Magna Grecia and Ten Sovereigns – both head to Newmarket without a warm up race. Aidan O’Brien will do everything he can to make sure that his charges are fit and ready to run and 12 of the last 17 winners were making their seasonal debuts so their lack of a warm up should not be too troubling. Both horses have their strengths but it’s Magna Grecia who looks the pick of the top two.

Ten Sovereigns is a potential sprint star of the future but does he have the stamina to perform over a mile against such a high class field? He has only been tested over 6f thus far whereas Magna Grecia won the Vertem Futurity Trophy over 1m at Doncaster on good to soft ground. Given that the 2000 Guineas has become a race for specialist milers, that win is very good news for favourite backers then, who may well see their support for Magna Grecia repaid at odds of 7/2 with Coral.

Those who don’t fancy backing the favourite have a couple of options from a little further down the betting either to support them to win or each way. The first to consider is Advertise at 8/1 with Ladbrokes. He had his colours lowered in some fashion by Too Darn Hot in the Dewhurst but has impressed in recent gallops and should thrive over 1m. Great Scot is the other to note at 25/1 with BetVictor. After an impressive two-year-old campaign, Tom Dascombe’s charge made a strong return to action when finishing second at Newbury over 7f and he should come on for the slight step up in trip.

1000 Guineas – Sunday, 3:35, Group 1, 1m

The 1000 Guineas has been something of those who focus their betting on the top portion of the betting in recent years. That was before Billesdon Brook won at the biggest odds in the history of the race 12 months ago. The open look to the betting market for the 2019 renewal suggests that we may get another fairly big priced winner even if Qabala is getting a lot of support right at the top.

Roger Varian’s filly was getting plenty of support on the back of just one win as a two-year-old but the money really came pouring in after she won her seasonal reappearance over 7f in Newmarket just a couple of weeks ago. That Group 3 win was impressive enough but the 1000 Guineas is a big step up in class from that, moreover Qabala will be stepping up to 1m for the first time and it’s doubtful she’ll be well suited to the ground should it soften considerably after the rain that is forecast.

Qabala has a huge amount of potential but looks a little short at a general price of 5/2. Just Wonderful looks a better option from the top portion of the betting at 7/1 with bet365. Aidan O’Brien’s filly certainly has the potential even though she did not end last season on a high. The same can be said of Antonia De Vega who looks even more tempting at a best price of 28/1 with RaceBets. Ralph Beckett and his team are very excited about her prospects this season and although she hasn’t had a warm up race, her work at home has by all accounts been impressive.

On the bear form, Antonia De Vega’s step up to 1m does not look good as she finished back of the pack at Newmarket in October. However, she pulled up lame after that race so connections are drawing a line through it and their hopes remain high. Antonia De Vega may well be the horse most likely to land another surprise win in the 1000 Guineas.

Guineas Festival Supporting Races on Saturday

2:20 Palace House Stakes

Group 3, 5f

The Palace House Stakes is a 5f sprint for horses aged three years and older. This Group 3 has been won by several three-year-olds over the years but none since Amour Propre in 2009 which shows just how tough it is for younger horses to serve it up to their elders at this stage of the season. And yet it’s a three-year-old, Sergei Prokofiev, who tops the betting for this year’s renewal.

Aidan O’Brien’s colt caught the eye as a juvenile but even a trainer of his experience found it very hard to find the right approach for him. After much trial and error it was decided that sprints are the best way to go which was confirmed with his win over 5½f in Navan at the end of March against horses aged between three and 11. A step up from Listed to Group level is no mean feat but it’s within the capabilities of this exciting horse who is still available at a good price of 3/1 with Coral.

2:55 Jockey Club Stakes

Group 2, 1m4f

Like Sergei Prokofiev, Kew Gardens was a highly promising horse who frustrated the Coolmore team as they tried to work out just what his optimum distance is. By the time the St Leger came around it was clear that he is a quality stayer and it was no surprise that he won the final Classic of the season at 3/1.

Kew Gardens is back for another campaign and hopes are high that he will kick off with a win in the Jockey Club Stakes which is run over a mile and a half. The big question is whether he will be able to get back to his best on his seasonal reappearance. Those in any doubt will avoid the favourite at a general 5/2 especially as Red Verdon is available at 12/1 with Ladbrokes. Ed Dunlop’s six-year-old made a winning return over 1m4f at Doncaster just over a month ago and it should take just a slight improvement to land an each way place.

Guineas Festival Supporting Races on Sunday

2:20 Dahlia Stakes

Group 2, 1m1f

Billesdon Brook broke the record as the longest priced winner of the 1000 Guineas last year. Those hoping she would kick on to more huge success have so far been disappointed as by the time she returned to Newmarket for her final appearance of last season she’d finished fourth twice and could then only finish fifth of nine in the Sun Chariot Stakes.

Billesdon Brook is back at the scene of her biggest success again on Sunday and has attracted some support in the Dahlia Stakes at a general price of 5/2. It’s Nyaleti who is the value option in the betting at 11/4 with Coral though. Mark Johnston’s four-year-old finished last season off with an impressive and valuable second place in the Premio Lydia Tesio in Italy and has more than enough to suggest that 11/4 is too big.

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.