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The Guineas Festival: A guide to the Newmarket showpiece

The Guineas Festival is here. The annual Newmarket meeting is one of the highlights of the racing calendar. Accordingly, we put together a guide to the history of the event and a summary of the two featured races, courtesy of our resident tipster.

 

About The Festival

The Guineas Festival is a famous flat horse-racing event taking place at Newmarket Racecourse in late April or early May every year and features two of Britain’s five annual Classic races; the 2000 Guineas Stakes and the 1000 Guineas Stakes.

The 2000 takes places on the Saturday and is open to three-year-old thoroughbred colts whereas the 1000, on the Sunday, is contested by three-year-old fillies.

Both are Group 1 races and are exactly a mile in length, taking place over Newmarket’s famous ‘Rowley Mile’.

There is a substantial prize for winning either contest with the winner of the 2000 set to pocket £297,019 and the 1000 offering up £283,550 to the victor.

Over 30,000 patrons are expecting to step through the Newmarket turnstiles and will be hoping that the weather doesn’t ruin a sterling bank holiday weekend of racing action.

 

History

The inaugural running of the 2000 Guineas came on the 18th April 1809, making this the 210th anniversary of the great race. Sir Charles Bunbury established the Guineas, having already co-founded another of the British Classics, The Derby.

Both the 1000 and 2000 Guineas were named after their original prize funds, with a guinea valued at around £1.05 at the time.

With the 2000 quickly establishing itself as a prestigious race on the calendar, the equivalent contest for fillies was introduced five years later, in 1814.

The first ever winner of the 2000 was Wizard, ridden by Bill Clift, but some more famous recent winners include Nijinsky, Rock Of Gibraltar and Frankel. Conversely, Charlotte won the inaugural 1000, with Bill Clift able to claim the maiden

victory in that version as well.

Aidan O’Brien is the most successful trainer in the history of the 2000 with nine wins to his name. His first, King of Kings, came in 1998 with the most recent, Saxon Warrior, winning last year’s outing. He has two entries this year, Ten Sovereigns and Magna Grecia, who at 10/3 and 4/1 respectively head the betting, suggest that he has a good chance of winning the race for the third consecutive year.

By contrast, Robert Robson trained the most 1000 winners, astonishingly training nine of the ten champions between 1818 and 1827.

The fastest winning time in either race was set in the 1000 Guineas in 2009 by Ghanaatim, who rocketed home in 1m 34.22s. The biggest ever winning distance was set in 1859 by Mayonaise, who won by an outrageous 20 lengths.

 

Triple Crowns

Although both races are regarded as Classics, they also each make up one third of the two domestic Triple Crowns.

The Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing consists of the 2000 Guineas, The Derby and the St. Leger Stakes. It has been won 15 times in total, though only twice in the last 100 years. The most recent, Nijinsky, achieved the impressive feat in 1970.

A recent near-miss came in 2012, when Camelot won the 2000 Guineas and The Derby before coming second in the St. Leger.

The Fillies’ Triple Crown is won by any horse who claims the 1000 Guineas, Epsom Oaks and St. Leger Stakes in the same season. It has been won on nine occasions, most recently by Oh So Sharp in 1985.

 

Tips

Our resident tipster delivers his verdict on the two huge race of the weekend.

 

2000 Guineas

Madhmoon wins the 2000 Guineas. A solid prep run behind Never No More in April, who was race fit having won the Madrid Handicap in March. The ground was too soft for him that day and, provided there is no deluge between now and Saturday, he can confirm the promise he displayed as a 2yo.

Verdict: Madhmoon

 

1000 Guineas

The 1000 is ridiculously open. Qabala looked very good when winning the Nell Gwyn at the course three weeks ago but I’d question the worth of the bare form of that race.

Lady Kaya looks a solid proposition, being ground versatile. Iridessa was long time antepost favourite and lost nothing when returning last month at Leopardstown behind Lady Kaya.

Verdict: Iridessa, Lady Kaya

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