As anticipation grows ahead of the resumption of racing in the UK it’s time to start looking ahead to the first classics of the campaign, the 1000 and 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.
The three-year-old races have been rescheduled to Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th June, and with those dates just around the corner, we’re looking at some of the main contenders in the ante-post betting for both.
You can also check out our runner-by-runner guide for the 2000 Guineas, which is available here.
The Favourite – Pinatubo
Newmarket must feel like Ballydoyle’s second home these days. Aidan O’Brien has plundered this prize ten times since 1998 and is looking for a fourth successive crown after wins in 2017, 2018 and 2019.
He’ll have a few cards to play again this time around, but it’s Charlie Appleby who holds the ace in the pack with last season’s champion two-year-old Pinatubo, who remains unbeaten.
The Godolphin colt swept aside all before him last season, drawing comparisons with Frankel following huge distance successes in both the Vintage Stakes, the Vincent O’Brien Stakes and the Dewhurst.
Now the only question is whether he’s trained on. Appleby reckons he has, although some keen-eyed observers have been quick to point out the son of Sharmadal hasn’t bulked up over the winter.
That won’t matter if he continues the same upward trajectory as last season, and for a horse named after a volcano in the Philippines, we’re expecting an explosive performance from the odds-on hotpot.
The Challenger – Arizona
So, who is his nearest challenger? Our traders think that unenviable task will fall to Arizona. The No Nay Never colt won the Coventry last season but was subsequently beaten on all four runs in Group 1 company.
That’s not a problem with plenty of positives to take from each of those four performances, especially his 1¾l fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf from a difficult draw. It’s his form with Pinatubo that’s the issue.
Arizona was thumped 9¼l by the favourite in the Vincent O’Brien and then by 2l in the Dewhurst, which although does show some potential progression, could be put down to the soft ground on the day.
By those metrics either O’Brien’s inmate will need to have found a chunk of improvement over the winter, or Pinatubo will need to have not trained on for them to reverse placings.
Ballydoyle do have form for upsetting a Godolphin favourite in the 2000 Guineas with Saxon Warrior usurping Masar in 2018, could we see the same again here?
Kameko ranks as the most likely of the double-figure pokes in the ante-post betting following a resounding success in the Vertem Futurity which was rescheduled from Doncaster to Newcastle.
Being a son of Kitten’s Joy it’s possible he handled the artificial surface better than any of his rivals on the day, but after powering across the line by over 3l, we reckon there could be more to come from the charge.
It could be a similar story but in reverse for Kinross, who went off favourite at Newcastle only to trail home a disappointing fifth. If the tapeta didn’t suit the Kingman colt, he’s well worth another chance at Newmarket.
You only need look at his breathtaking debut success to see what he’s capable of, and with the 1m trip likely to suit Ralph Beckett’s hopeful more than some of his rivals, he could be one to keep on side.
Elsewhere, Military March is attracting plenty of interest at a decent price, and it’s easy to see why given that he remains unbeaten and is two for two at Newmarket.
Wichita, too, from the O’Brien second string could also run a big race. The No Nay Never colt hosed up by 8l in the Tattersalls Stakes before being beaten comfortably by Pinatubo on soft ground in the Dewhurst.
Kenzai Warrior and Mums Tipple, who you may recall won a seller at York by 11l in 2019, will also hope to make a play for the places.
The Favourite – Quadrilateral
The master of Ballydoyle hasn’t been quite so successful in the 1000 Guineas, although with three wins in the last four iterations of the race, you could make a case that he’s finally found the key to the filly’s event.
However, it’s Quadrilateral for Roger Charlton who heads the betting at a short-price. The Frankel filly was only lightly raced last season but won all three of her starts, including the Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket.
She finished ahead of a number of those who are likely to re-oppose in Suffolk, while the trainer has reported the inmate has wintered well, which is obvious good news for those intent on backing her in the Guineas.
The Challenger – Love
There’s not a great deal to separate the cluster of double-figure chances in the ante-post betting, but with Aidan O’Brien’s impressive recent record in this race, it’d be churlish to dismiss the chances of Love.
While we remain unsure how many raiders the Irish trainer will send across due to the travel restrictions on jockeys, it looks likely that the Galileo filly will be leading the charge with Ryan Moore already in the UK.
Moore partnered Love in her last three races of 2019, landing a Group 1 success in the Moyglare ahead of Daahyeh before finding only Quadrilateral and Powerful Breeze too good in the Fillies’ Mile.
There are possible excuses that day with regards to the soft ground, while we know O’Brien will have her spot on for this as he always does with his runners in the 2000 Guineas.
Much like the 2000 Guineas, we have no shortage of outsiders in the ante-post market, with Jessica Harrington’s Millisle the shortest of the bunch after a promising juvenile campaign.
The daughter of Starspangledbanner progressed nicely as a two-year-old and finished the season with the scalp of Queen Mary winner Raffle Prize and current French 2000 Guineas favourite Tropbeau.
Those are some nice form lines, and while there’s plenty of stamina on her dam’s side, her ability to stay over 1m remains to be seen with each of her runs so far coming at 5f and 6f.
Raffle Prize is another who’ll hope to be in the mix for Mark Johnston after producing a string of impressive performances as a juvenile, including when runner-up to Millisle on her last start.
The Slade Power filly won both the Queen Mary at Royal Ascot and the Duchess of Cambridge Stakes before being touched off in the Prix Morny and the Cheveley Park.
That’s as good as any other form on offer here, and if she can handle the step up to 1m for the first time, then she could be an attractively priced winner with Frankie Dettori on board.
Peaceful will be another to look out for from the all-powerful O’Brien yard. The filly’s best result so far came when second in a Listed race, which may not sound that impressive.
But when you take into account the winner that day, Born With Pride, was making her first start and is now favourite for the Oaks at Epsom, you get a sense of how smart that form could turn out to be.
Cloak of Spirits and Boomer are two others who hold place chances at the very least.
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication.