2000 Guineas Preview – Saturday 4th May
Last updated: May 2, 2019 by Leon Marshal
The new flat season hits top gear this weekend with the Guineas Festival at Newmarket. Saturday’s feature race is the £500,000 Group 1 2000 Guineas over a mile. This race has been won by many famous in turf history including Nijinsky (1970), Brigadier Gerard (1971), Dancing Brave (1986) and Frankel (2011). Leading Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien has dominated the race in recent times with a record nine victories including 12 months’ ago with Saxon Warrior.
O’Brien duo top 2000 Guineas market
The withdrawal of top two-year-old and ante-post favourite Too Darn Hot has left the race looking wide open this year. Aidan O’Brien will be doubly represented with Magna Grecia and Ten Sovereigns.
Magna Grecia was beaten a neck by Persian King here in the Autumn Stakes before scraping home by a head in the Futurity Trophy at Doncaster. In both races he gave the impression that he would be more effective over further than a mile this season.
The debate with the unbeaten Ten Sovereigns is whether he will stay a mile. The son of No Nay Never won all three starts as a two-year-old, culminating in a half a length victory over Jash in the six furlong Middle Park Stakes. It is interesting that his future entries include the five furlong King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot.
The Craven Stakes form is represented by Skardu, a neck winner over Momkin last month. The form of that race is difficult to assess but it did not look like a particularly strong renewal. Momkin had been beaten at odds-on at Ffos Las last season and started at 28-1 in the Craven. Set Piece and Royal Marine, third and fourth in that race, need to find improvement to feature here. Set Piece briefly looked threatening before his effort petered out but he looks a nice colt in the making.
Madhmoon was also beaten at odds-on last time out when second to Never No More at Leopardstown. Kevin Prendergast’s colt ran as though the step back up to a mile on better ground would be in his favour.
Dettori switches to Advertise at Newmarket
Frankie Dettori had hoped to be riding Too Darn Hot but will now partner Advertise, beaten nearly three lengths by that horse in the Dewhurst Stakes. Martyn Meade’s son of Showcasing was a tough and consistent juvenile. His only other defeat came against Calyx in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot.
The Greenham Stakes winner Mohaather is another key absentee due to injury. The form of the Newbury race is represented by runner-up Great Scot and third-placed Urban Icon. Great Scot took a long time to hit top gear that day while Urban Icon travelled into the race smoothly before tiring in the closing stages. Richard Hannon has been particularly keen on the prospects of Urban Icon and he could be a lively outsider.
Godolphin have supplemented narrow Deauville winner Al Hilalee, trained by Charlie Appleby. The bare form does not look good enough but this may not be a vintage year. Shine So Bright impressed when making all to win the European Free Handicap at Newmarket over seven furlongs. He ran quite freely but was going away from his rivals in the closing stages.
John Gosden may have withdrawn Too Darn Hot and Calyx but is still represented by Kick On and Azano. Kick On just held Walkinthesand in the Listed Feilden Stakes but this looks a much tougher contest. Azano was never in contention when beaten nearly six lengths by Shine So Bright and looks up against it.
Ten Sovereigns @5-1 Bet365
Urban Icon @25-1
Shine So Bright @33-1
Each-way 1/5 odds, 1,2,3,4
The 2000 Guineas is due off at 3.35 at Newmarket on Saturday 4th May and will be televised live on ITV.