Our expert takes a look through the early field confirmed in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket and provides readers with an interesting ante-post tip.
Along with the 1000 Guineas - which is the feature race on Sunday at the Guineas Festival - the 2000 Guineas has been an important fixture on the flat racing calendar for over two centuries. On Saturday 6th May, some of the most talented three-year-olds in the sport will line up on the Rowley Mile and battle it out for this Group 1, classic title.
Aidan O’Brien had a stranglehold over the classic contests last season and his dominance looks set to continue, as he trains three of the first five names on the ante-post betting list for this year’s 2000 Guineas.
) currently tops the market, after his five high-profile victories last season earned O’Brien over half a million pounds in prize money. Following a surprise defeat on his career debut, this son of Galileo landed the Chesham Stakes at Ascot, a Group 3 title at Leopardstown and two major titles at the Curragh - including a sentimental victory for O’Brien in the Group 1 National Stakes race named after Vincent O’Brien, who established the Ballydoyle operation that Aidan currently runs.
His final victory of the season came over seven furlongs here at Newmarket, when he beat Lancaster Bomber to the Dewhurst Stakes title back in October. The 2000 Guineas looks likely to be the scene of his reappearance and if he comes to Newmarket in peak condition, he could be very difficult to stop.
The American-bred Carravagio
(10/1 Paddy Power
) enjoyed an unbeaten campaign last year, impressing over both five and six furlong trips. In partnership with Ryan Moore, he comfortably won the Group 2 Coventry Stakes title at Royal Ascot, before cruising to a maiden Group 1 title at the Curragh, where he won the 1/8 favourite Keeneland Phoenix Stakes title by four lengths.
(16/1 William Hill
) is the third O’Brien runner near the head of the betting, as he looks to build on his excellent victory in the Qatar Vintage Stakes at Glorious Goodwood back in July. He bounced back to form following a surprise defeat here at Newmarket on his previous outing in stunning fashion at Goodwood, beating Thunder Snow
(25/1 Paddy Power
) to that lucrative title by almost two lengths.
The form of that race was boosted when Thunder Snow scored two impressive victories at Meydan over the past few months. Saeed Bin Suroor’s youngster won a Group 3 title by just over five lengths, before producing an excellent battling performance to land the UAE Derby title on Dubai World Cup day. He looks set to renew rivalries with War Decree on his return to English soil and is sure to garner a lot of each-way attention at his current long odds.
He will be one of many Godolphin runners looking to sprint their way into the 2000 Guineas winners’ enclosure. Both Dream Castle
(20/1 Paddy Power
) and Barney Roy
) were only seen once during their two-year-old campaigns, but they put in impressive showings to claim strong victories at Doncaster and Haydock respectively. Dream Castle may currently be higher in the betting, but Barney Roy was a 9/1 shot when he scored a Class 4 victory by three-and-a-half lengths at Haydock and he looks open to plenty of progression this season.
Ryan Moore riding Churchill (near) win the Dubai Dewhurst Stakes here at Newmarket last season.
(16/1 William Hill
) will also fly the Godolphin flag in the 2000 Guineas, after he recovered from a dreadful debut performance to score victory in a Class 4 at Newbury in September with a solid front-running display. Hugo Palmer will be hoping Escobar
) can bounce back in similar style, after he lost his unbeaten record with a surprisingly weak performance in the Group 3 Tattersalls Stakes here at Newmarket. He carried a short price to the post with him that day, but eventually crossed the line near the rear of the field.
John Gosden is yet to taste 2000 Guineas success and he will be eagerly waiting to see if Frankel progeny, Cracksman
(25/1 William Hill
) can reproduce the same powerful performance that saw him win well over course-and-distance in his only career start back in October. Eminent
) was also a course-and-distance winner on his maiden outing for Martyn Meade and his trainer will be confident his charge can make a similar impact when he appears at the upcoming Craven meeting. However, the most impressive of all the returning course-and-distance winners is Best Of Days
(33/1 Paddy Power
), who just get his neck over the line ahead of several capable challengers to win the Grade 2 Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes crown back in October.
William Haggas' Rivet
(20/1 William Hill
will return to action at Newmarket this week, when he, War Decree and several other 2000 Guineas entrants are set to battle it out for the Craven Stakes title. Haggas’ charge finished a long way behind Churchill when the two met in the Dewhurst Stakes, but a narrow win over Thunder Snow in the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster and an excellent win in the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy around the same track in October proved he is a miler of the highest calibre.
Makfi became the first French raider to claim the 2000 Guineas title in 15 years, when he triumph over his English rivals back in 2010. Christiane Head-Maarek will send National Defence
) to Newmarket in the hope he can repeat Makfi’s winning feat. He beat the highly-regarded Salouen at the end of last season, finishing his two-year-old campaign with two victories from three starts in France and an encouraging runner-up finish on his seasonal reappearance sees him travel to England for the first time in good form.
Head-Maarek might have thought National Defence was set to take the title on his reappearance at Maisons-Laffitte. That was until AL WUKAIR
) produced a stunning late charge from the back of the pack, going from last to first over the final three furlongs before running on to eventually win the Group 3 Prix Djebel title by a single length.
The Dream Ahead progeny won both his starts as a two-year-old during the latter months of last season - cruising to a comfortable victory in his career debut at Saint-Cloud, before landing a Listed title over a mile at Deauville by just over a length.
Andre Fabre won the 2000 Guineas title back in 1995 and Galileo Gold carried the Al Shaqab Racing colours to victory last season, the same silks that Al Wukair will wear when he makes his British debut next month. Fabre’s stable have started the season in strong form and if Al Wukair can show the same stunning turn-of-foot he displayed when winning at Maisons-Laffitte earlier this month, even Chruchill could struggle to stay with him.
6/5/2017 3:35pm Newmarket 2000 Guineas selection – AL WUKAIR (9/2 bet365)