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 and a 10th time with Magna Grecia in 2019. All his winners have been making their seasonal reappearances.