Date: Saturday May 1st (3.40pm)
Course: Newmarket (Rowley Mile)
Status: Group 1
Distance: 1 mile
Weights: 9st 0lbs (3lb allowance for fillies)
Modern-day Guineas hopefuls often head straight to Newmarket without a prep run that season but nearly all Guineas winners have shown high class form as a juvenile.
The Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes, run over 7f on the Rowley Mile, is often seen as the strongest juvenile race in the calendar while it also provides some clues as to whether horses have the balance to cope with Newmarket’s undulations.
The top three home from the 2020 Dewhurst Stakes (all trained in Ireland) are all prominent in 2000 Guineas betting lists.
The Royal Lodge Stakes is run over the same course and distance as the Guineas and although its winners don’t have a strong Guineas record overall, Kameko won the race in 2020 before going on to Classic glory the following year.
For those that do have a run prior to the Guineas, then it will generally be in either Newbury’s Greenham Stakes (7f) or Newmarket’s Craven Stakes (1m), although no horse since Haafhd in 2004 has followed up his Craven Stakes success on Guineas day.
There is only one place to start when it comes to 2,000 Guineas trainer trends and that is with Aidan O’Brien who has won the race 10 times since 1998.
O’Brien has won four of the six editions since 2015 and generally tends to have real depth to his Guineas squad. He doesn’t always win the race with his perceived ‘first string’ – in 2019 11/2 chance Magna Gracia landed the spoils while stablemate Ten Sovereigns, sent off a warm favourite, could manage only 5th.
Sir Michael Stoute has won the race five times but not since 2001.
Godolphin don’t have a strong record in the Guineas and they had a red-hot favourite (Pinatubo) beaten in 2020 but trainer Charlie Appleby has a strong team of 3-year-olds, so much so that he saddled the one-two in the Craven Stakes. One Ruler, who heads 2,000 Guineas betting, is the team’s big hope this time.
Given Aidan O’Brien’s record in the race, it obviously pays to focus on his regular riders like Ryan Moore who was on board winners in 2015 and 2017.
Frankie Dettori has won the race three times, most recently in 2016 aboard Galileo Gold.
The 2,000 Guineas is still missing from the CV of William Buick but he has the choice of Charlie Appleby’s strong squad so is likely to break his duck soon.
Oisin Murphy opened his Classic account aboard Kameko in 2020 and is likely to pick up another good ride.
One Ruler has been very strong in ante-post lists and he is a strong trends chance to give Charlie Appleby a first 2,000 Guineas success.
His Autumn Stakes success over Van Gogh (Group 1 winner subsequently) as a 2-year-old confirmed that he is fully effective on the Rowley Mile and One Ruler can be forgiven his subsequent narrow defeat in the Vertem Futurity Trophy Stakes as that turned into a real test of stamina on desperate ground. Confidence in him merely increased when stablemate Master Of The Seas won the Craven Stakes.
Aidan O’Brien’s team appears to be headed by his one-two from the Dewhurst Stakes, St Mark’s Basilca and Wembley although it’s very difficult to split the pair on that form, especially as we haven’t seen either since.
Thunder Moon, third in the Dewhurst Stakes, is actually shorter in Guineas betting lists than the pair that finished just in front of him that day. He’s already a Group 1 winner having won the National Stakes at the Curragh and drying ground would boost his hopes. He’s a strong chance in the trends and could provide Joseph O’Brien with his first 2,000 success as a trainer.
*The 2020 renewal was staged in June due to Covid-19