Racing returns with a vengeance this weekend as Newmarket serves up the prestigious 1000 Guineas and 2000 Guineas – two races every leading trainer desperately wants to win.
The sport might be behind closed doors for now, but don’t expect any drop-off in quality, with some outstanding runners set to make the grade for this weekend’s feature races.
Need some 1000 and 2000 Guineas racing tips?
Here’s our look at the betting ahead of the weekend’s action…
2000 Guineas Tips
Rock of Gibraltar. Sea The Stars. Frankel.
The 2000 Guineas is often the first staging post for some of the most talented thoroughbreds in British racing history to lay down a marker before sealing their place amongst the all-time greats.
Looking at this year’s field, red-hot favourite Pinatubo looks the most likely candidate primed to join that illustrious list, with many racing insiders predicting he has the poise and presence to be a new Frankel in the making. Charlie Appleby’s prodigious three-year-old obliterated the rest of the field at the Curragh in last year’s National Stakes to instantly put himself in the 2000 Guineas betting conversation.
With more eyes expected to be on this year’s Guineas double header due to the earlier than expected return of racing, Pinatubo has the world-beating performance in his locker that could make a sport-starved nation sit up and take notice.
That said, at his current price of 21/25, better value could lie elsewhere.
If Pinatubo doesn’t prevail, Wichita could be waiting in the wings to seal an 11th 2000 Guineas win for Aidan O’Brien. He didn’t quite have the pace to reel in Pinatubo in the Dewhurst Stakes, but could raise his game in their latest duel if the conditions remain good on Saturday.
In the each-way stakes, Military March could strike from range as he gears up for an expected Epsom Derby run. The son of New Approach is still something of an unknown quantity in this company but was unbeaten in two starts as a Juvenile last year, including the Dubai Autumn Stakes here in November.
Three to think about:
Pinatubo – 21/25
Wichita – 15/1
Military March – 15/1
1000 Guineas Tips
After the excitement of the 2000 Guineas on Saturday, Newmarket serves up another showstopper on Sunday with the 1000 Guineas set to be as hotly contested as ever.
The second of Britain’s five Classics, the mile race is open to three-year-old fillies, and has a habit of throwing up some curveballs from a betting point of view, with recent history telling us this race doesn’t always necessarily stick to the pre-race script.
Homecoming Queen (25/1, 2012) and Billesdon Brink (66/1, 2018) were both long-price winners in this one, while Hermosa was first home in a one-length victory last year at a starting price of 14/1. Minding’s classy run in 2016 was the last time an overwhelming favourite stormed to victory over the Rowley Mile, so it’s worth studying the field closely for any under-the-radar contenders.
Early market leader Quadrilateral could change all that this year, with all the right credentials in place to land a Classic. A win for the three-year-old here would also provide some feelgood factor in these troubled times, with trainer Roger Charlton hoping to end a 30-year barren streak in the Classics. She’s also part of racing royalty as the daughter of the legendary Frankel and showed a ruthless streak runs in the family with a signature win in the Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket last autumn.
Millisle could be firmly in the mix as she tests herself over a slightly longer distance this weekend. It remains to be seen whether she can reproduce her best form over eight furlongs, but Jessica Harrington’s three-year-old put in a storming run in the Cheveley Park Stakes. That suggests she has the finish required to turn in a star-making performance here. The steady hand of Oisin Murphy for the ride only adds to her claims.
As touched on earlier, this can be a race where it pays to look away from some of the more obvious contenders – particularly when you throw into the mix the unusual build-up to this year’s race.
One filly that could be just the ticket for a bit of each-way value in the 1000 Guineas betting is Raffle Prize. She likes this course, winning impressively over six furlongs in the Duchess of Cambridge Stakes here last July.
Question marks remain over how she’ll cope with the longer distance here, but the former Queen Mary Stakes winner has a touch of class that suggests she can’t be easily discounted.
Three to think about:
Quadrilateral – 5/2
Millisle – 5/1
Raffle Prize – 12/1
Odds correct at time of writing but may be subject to change.