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The QIPCO 2000 Guineas Stakes

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Churchill after winning the Dewhurst Stakes. Now champion two-year-old
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History

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.

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 literally 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.

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.

Current leading jockey: Kieren Fallon, 5 wins (2000-1, 2005-6, 2014)
Current leading trainer: Aidan O’Brien, 7 wins (1998, 2002, 2005-6, 2008, 2012, 2015)

Previous winners

Year Horse Jockey Trainer Owner Prize money

Entries

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Weather

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

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2017

Aidan O’Brien secured a record-breaking eighth QIPCO 2000 Guineas victory as the outstanding Churchill landed the first Classic of the season.

The first QIPCO British Champions Series race of the year promised to be a thriller and did not disappoint with the champion two-year-old of last season winning at the main expense of the previously unbeaten pair of Barney Roy and Al Wukair.

Churchill, ridden by Ryan Moore, got what appeared a near-perfect trip behind front-running stablemate Lancaster Bomber before bagging the stands’ rail and keeping on strongly to hold off the strong late challenges of his closest pursuers.

Bookmakers responded by quoting Churchill at between 2-1 and 6-1 for next month’s Investec Derby.

A decision on his participation is unlikely to be made for a while but O’Brien said: “He’s such a relaxed horse that I think he could get any trip you wanted.

“The boys will have a chat about the Derby. He’s so relaxed in his races that he could probably go as far as you want, and he’s by a sire whose progeny generally stay very well.”

Winning jockey Ryan Moore, winning his second 2000 Guineas, said: “He’s such a straightforward horse to ride, he’s beaten the best of his age at two and he’s done it again here so he’s very hard to knock.

“He’s a beautiful mover, he’s got a fantastic mind, and he fills me with confidence in the race. He feels magnificent every time I sit on him.”

Barney Roy stumbled going into the Dip and, another day, might have given the winner more to think about. Richard Hannon, his trainer, said: “I am very proud of him. He ran a good race, but he stumbled coming into the Dip, mainly through a little inexperience, but he has run a super race and we are very pleased with him. I think it is fair to say the winner had the run of the race.

“The St James’s Palace Stakes is likely to be on the cards for him now.”

Andre Fabre

was in no mood to talk after Al Wukair was a neck further back in third. He merely offered: “It’s over”.

It was left to Harry Herbert, advisor to Sheikh Joaan Al Thani’s Al Shaqab Racing, who own the Dream Ahead colt, to fill in the blanks.

Herbert said: “He ran a hell of a race, but the pace was so slow. He would be much better off a stronger-run race. As a result, he [jockey Gregory Benoist] had to come wide and there was nothing to follow. He has done very well, all things considered.

“Hats off to the winner, but in a faster run race, you’d like to take him on again. It is just frustrating and very hard to quicken off a slow pace.”

He added: “Andre is very disappointed. He said before the race, ‘As they say in America, show me a good loser and I’ll show you a loser’.”

Earlier on the card, Marsha had defied a 7lb Group One penalty in the Palace House Stakes and a tilt at the King’s Stand Stakes will be next on her agenda.

Results

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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,
Newmarket,
Suffolk,
CB8 0TG

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