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The QIPCO 2000 Guineas Stakes

3.35pm Newmarket

  • Distance 1m
  • Class 1
  • Group 1
  • Prize money £500,000
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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, 9 wins (1998, 2002, 2005-6, 2008, 2012, 2015, 2017-18)

Previous winners

Year Horse Jockey Trainer Owner Prize money




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


Saxon Warrior much too strong for rivals

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

Saxon Warrior gave teenager Donnacha O’Brien a first Classic success and his father a remarkable 300th Group One prize when storming to an emphatic length-and-a-half victory in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas at Newmarket on Saturday.

The first Classic of the season launched the new QIPCO British Champions Series in style, with 3-1 chance Saxon Warrior preserving his unbeaten record and being cut to Evens for the Investec Derby at Epsom next month.

Tip Two Win, an unconsidered 50-1 chance, was a valiant second, with Masar, the 5-2 favourite, third. Elarqam, Roaring Lion and Gustav Klimt – all pattern winners – filled the next three places.

Fears about the mile trip being too sharp proved unfounded as O’Brien’s ‘monster’ colt stayed on strongly up the hill to add a second Group One success to his CV after winning last year’s Racing Post Trophy.

O’Brien Sr, away in America for Mendelssohn’s run in the Kentucky Derby, missed watching his record ninth winner of the race but his 19-year-old son said: “It’s very special, I’ve got to say a huge thanks to dad and the owners for giving me the chance to sit on him and hopefully I didn’t mess up today.

“He travelled beautiful and I thought we were the winner the whole way. I probably got a bit excited at the two pole when I gave him a squeeze a bit early.

“He’s an absolute monster of a horse so you never know, he could improve again. I was very impressed, I thought he was a very good horse even on his homework, we’ve made no secret of it, and I think he’s very, very good.”

He added: “If I had to put my neck on the line I would say his optimum trip would be about a mile and a quarter, he’s not slow but he’s bred to stay. He’s very relaxed so I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he got a mile and a half but it’s not my decision.”

Winning owner Michael Tabor said: “Aidan said Saxon Warrior would only improve but he added the caveat that he could still win or at least run a big race, that’s how special he thought he was.

“Aidan might say otherwise but I would say he’ll go straight to the Derby now. Obviously a mile is not his ideal trip but when a horse has the speed and class of Saxon Warrior we were always hopeful that a mile would be fine, which it proved to be.

“Common sense would say this wouldn’t be his ideal trip, he’s a mile and a half horse and there is surely more to come from him as he goes up in trip.

“I would rather back it than lay it, evens is what he should be. Other horses will come out of the woodwork but they will have to be good to beat him.”


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The Course

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

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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