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The QIPCO 2000 Guineas Stakes

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The first race in the QIPCO British Champions Series and the curtain-raising Classic of the British Flat season, the QIPCO 2000 Guineas is open to three-year-old colts and fillies. It’s run on the Rowley Mile at Newmarket, over one mile (1,600 metres) in late April or early May.

Although they only have to carry 8st 11lbs (56kgs) compared with the 9st (57kgs) on a colt’s back, fillies very rarely contest the QIPCO 2000 Guineas nowadays. They almost invariably stick to their own equivalent event, the QIPCO 1000 Guineas, in which they don’t have to take on their male counterparts.  The last filly to triumph was Garden Path in 1944.

Trial races are staged in mid-April but many contenders head for the 2000 Guineas without a warm-up run, their trainers relying on getting them fit enough and sharp enough on the training gallops. The 2000 Guineas was first run in 1809. The biggest outsider? Rockavon, at 66-1 in 1961.

In 2011, Frankel put up one of the most devastating 2000 Guineas performances of all time, destroying the opposition with a piece of front-running brilliance which took the breath away.

He had the race sewn up well before half way and passed the post six lengths clear of his nearest rival. It was jockey Tom Queally’s first Classic winner and trainer Henry Cecil’s 25th.

Aidan O’Brien has a fantastic record, winning it for a ninth time with Saxon Warrior in 2018. All his winners have been making their seasonal reappearances.

Current leading jockey: Frankie Dettori, 3 wins (1996, 1999, 2016)
Current leading trainer: Aidan O’Brien, 10 wins (1998, 2002, 2005-6, 2008, 2012, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019)

Previous winners

Year Horse Jockey Trainer Owner Prize money




No/Draw Horse/Jockey Age Form/Type BHA Rating Weight Trainer Odds


Perfect ten for Aidan O'Brien as Magna Grecia prevails

Aidan O’Brien secured a ninth QIPCO 2000 Guineas victory with unbeaten colt.

Magna Grecia provided trainer Aidan O’Brien with a record-breaking tenth victory in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas.

The Ballydoyle maestro saddled the first two in the betting but it was the lesser fancied Magna Grecia, rather than market leader Ten Sovereigns, who stole the show in the first race of the QIPCO British Champions Series with a dominant display under Donnacha O’Brien.

In a fractured contest, Magna Grecia was one of three horses that decided to stick to the stands’ rail and it proved the right move because it was clear at halfway that the trio held an advantage. The 11-2 second favourite put his seal on the contest coming out of the dip and forged clear to win by an emphatic two-and-a-half lengths form King Of Change.

O’Brien has now won the last three editions of the Classic while Donnacha has wasted no time in doubling his tally after landing his first 2,000 Guineas aboard Saxon Warrior twelve months ago.

There had been doubts about whether Magna Grecia was quick enough to win a Guineas but O’Brien revealed that the team felt the race would really suit him.

He explained: “We thought he would get a mile well but he’s developed a lot of speed as well, he stays well but he is starting to travel this year so we couldn’t be happier with him.

“John [Magnier] knows pedigrees like nobody, he’s been putting pedigrees together all his life and he always thought that he would be a miler and I would imagine that’s the route he’ll take now. We discussed it the other night and thought the best route would be the Irish Guineas and then Ascot for the St James’s Palace Stakes.

“The lads put so much work into the pedigrees, day in, day out, and we are so privileged to be part of a massive team that all do such a great job.

“He’s such a lovely straightforward horse, he’s become very pacey, he’s a strong traveller now and is very uncomplicated.

“We were a bit worried that he was up the near side and away from a lot of the other fancied horses but Donnacha got him into a terrific position and into a lovely rhythm.”

When asked about vanquished favourite Ten Sovereigns, O’Brien added: “We wanted to give him the chance at a mile but the plan with him was always to go back in trip to sprinting.”

The Richard Hannon-trained King Of Change was the beneficiary of a stiff pace and jockey Sean Levey felt the son of Farhh, who had stepped up on his Nottingham seasonal debut victory, should take his chance in the Derby.

Levey said: “I was delighted with that. We have always thought he was a nice horse. Everything went smoothly, we had the pace outside us, and I was following the right horse (Magna Grecia).

“I thought I had him for a stage, but then the winner pulled out a bit more. My lad is a big, scopey horse – probably the biggest horse in the race – so going forward there is plenty to be optimistic about.”

Skardu, who won the bet365 Craven Stakes here last month, lost his unbeaten record when finishing a length and three-quarters further back in third under James Doyle, despite ‘winning’ his race on the far side.

Trainer William Haggas said: “He has had a hard race today. He won his side. We are very proud of the way he ran. He stuck it out well and won his race, but the winner has bolted up. They were clear of them from a fair way out, so it was hard for the horse to battle, but battle he did, and he did very well. We are very pleased with him.”

The Kevin Prendergast-trained Madhmoon (7-1) was a neck further back in fourth under Chris Hayes, staying on nicely.


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The Course

Newmarket is known as the “Home of Racing” - and who would argue?

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Certainly not James I, the first notable fan who built a palace in the Suffolk town in 1605. Racing fanatic Charles II followed suit, establishing the first horse race ever run in Britain under written rules. The Rowley Mile Racecourse, indeed – one of two at Newmarket, the other being the July Course – is named after his favourite hack, Old Rowley.

Today, Newmarket is horseracing’s centre of the Universe, with 2,500 thoroughbreds in training, shared by 75 licensed trainers and spread out over 2,800 acres of training grounds. Oh, and there’s also enough space left over for 65 stud farms, including the National Stud, and Tattersalls, the biggest horse sales company in Europe.

The QIPCO 2000 Guineas, one of Britain’s five Classics, is hosted by Newmarket. The race was first run in 1809. The venue also stages the QIPCO 1000 Guineas.

Getting there

Newmarket Racecourses,
Westfield House,
The Links,

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