Guineas Festival

The Newmarket Guineas Festival is a two-day meeting in late April or early May which features the first two Classic races of the new turf season. Both races take place over the Rowley Mile on Newmarket Racecourse; the 2000 Guineas and 1000 Guineas.

The 2000 Guineas is open to three-year-old colts and fillies, although it is rare for a filly to take part. The 1000 Guineas Stakes is restricted to three-year-old fillies.

The 2000 Guineas is the first leg of the English Triple Crown, completed by the Epsom Derby and St Leger. Nijinsky (1970) was the last horse to win all three races, although Aidan O’Brien’s Camelot was only denied by Encke in the St Leger in 2012.

The Fillies’ Triple Crown of the 1000 Guineas, Oaks and the St Leger was last won by Henry Cecil’s Oh So Sharp in 1985.

Guineas Festival

Qipco Guineas Festival Day 1

The main races on the first day of the Guineas Festival are the below:

The 2000 Guineas

The Group 1 2000 Guineas is the highlight of the first day of the meeting.

The inaugural running was won by Wizard in 1809, five years before the 1000 Guineas was introduced.

The races were named in accordance with their original prize purse with a guinea being equal to one pound and five pence.

“Guineas” has been adopted across the world as the term for Classic races over a mile.

Tudor Minstrel set a record winning margin of eight lengths in 1947.

Punters were left stunned by the 66-1 success of the first Scottish-trained winner Rockavon in 1961.

Nijinsky was a brilliant winner in 1970 before going on to complete the Triple Crown for Vincent O’Brien and Lester Piggott.

The 1971 renewal saw Brigadier Gerard defeat Mill Reef, two of the greatest colts in living memory. The Brigadier was only beaten once in his 18-race career while Mill Reef was never beaten again.

Other notable winners include Wollow (1976), Dancing Brave (1986) and Nashwan (1989). 1994 winner Mister Baileys set a record time for the race of 1m 35.08s.

There was controversy in 1980 when the £1.3 million French-trained colt Nureyev was sensationally disqualified for causing interference and the race awarded to Known Fact.

Other brilliant winners in recent years include multiple Group 1 winners Rock Of Gibraltar (2002) and Sea The Stars (2009). Even their great achievements were surpassed in 2011 when Frankel blazed the trail for Sir Henry Cecil and Tom Queally. The unbeaten colt started 1-2 favourite but stunned onlookers when racing into a 15 lengths lead at half-way. His winning margin was ultimately 6 lengths but the style of his victory was truly astonishing. He retired unbeaten in 14 races, being awarded an all-time high rating of 147 by the Timeform organisation.

Palace House Stakes

The supporting card on day 1 includes the Group 3 Palace House Stakes over five furlongs.

This is one of the first important sprint races of the season and often pinpoints likely challengers for Group 1 honours in the summer.

Notable past winners include Lochsong (1994), Avonbridge (2005), Mayson (2012) and Sole Power (2013, 2014).

Dahlia Fillies’ Stakes

The Group 2 Dahlia Stakes is for fillies and mares aged four and upwards over an extended mile.

It is named after the brilliant globetrotting mare who won over $1.4m in prize money between 1972 and 1976.

Sir Michael Stoute and Ryan Moore have each won this race six times, including twice with Heaven Sent (2008, 2009).

Qipco Guineas Festival Day 2

The second day main races look like this

The 1000 Guineas

The 1000 Guineas is the first fillies’ Classic of the season and the feature race on the second day of the festival.

The race was first run in 1814 with victory going to Charlotte.

In 1840 Crucifix became the shortest ever priced Classic winner when returning at odds of 1-10.

In 1859 Mayonaise romped to a record 20 lengths winning margin.

Other significant earlier winners include Rockfel (1938), Sun Chariot (1942) and Musidora (1949), all of which have races named after them.

In more recent times the 1000 Guineas has been won by superstars like Pebbles (1984), Oh So Sharp (1985), Salsabil (1990) and Minding (2016).

Pebbles went on to become the first filly to win the Eclipse Stakes and the first British-trained winner of a Breeders’ Cup race. Oh So Sharp famously landed the fillies’ Triple Crown while Salsabil defeated the colts in the Irish Derby.

Minding was the first of four winners in five years for Aidan O’Brien, the most recent being Love in 2020.

Richard Hannon’s Billesdon Brook provided the biggest shock in the history of the race when winning at 66-1 in 2018.

Pretty Polly Stakes

The Pretty Polly Stakes is a listed race for three-year-olds over ten furlongs and a significant trial for the Epsom Oaks.

It is named after the 1904 fillies’ Triple Crown winner. Ouija Board (2004) and Taghrooda (2014) both won this race and went on to win the Epsom Classic. John Gosden has been the trainer to follow in the Pretty Polly with six victories since 2009.

Best Trainers & Jockeys at The Qipco Guineas Festival

Aidan O’Brien is the leading trainer in the history of the 2000 Guineas. He notched a tenth victory with Magna Grecia in 2019.

Owner Sue Magnier has been involved in eleven 2000 Guineas winners including Rock Of Gibraltar (2008), Camelot (2012), Gleneagles (2015) and Churchill (2017).

O’Brien has recently taken a stranglehold on the 1000 Guineas with victories for Minding (2016), Winter (2017), Hermosa (2019) and Love (2020). His tally now stands at six, still three short of the record set by Robert Robson (1818-1827).

Jem Robinson is the most successful jockey in the history of the 2000 Guineas with nine winners (1825-1848). George Fordham retains the record of riding seven 1000 Guineas winners between 1859 and 1883. Ryan Moore has ridden the winner four times but often faces the unenviable task of deciding which of the O’Brien runners to ride.

Betting on Qipco Guineas Festival 2021

The ante-post markets on the 1000 Guineas and 2000 Guineas run all year round.

The betting fluctuates wildly as the top two-year-olds lay down their marker for the following season.

The market really hots up in the spring at the Newmarket Craven meeting although the recent trend has been to go for the Guineas without a previous race.

Bookmakers Paddy Power offered new customers 10-1 about 2017 winner Churchill to a £10 stake so it is always worth looking out for special offers.

If you are looking to bet online we recommend the following great deals:

Summary of The Qipco Guineas Festival

The Quipco Guineas Festival at Newmarket, ran on the Rowley mile course, kick-starts the Classic season with many of last season’s top juveniles reappearing.

Many champion two-year-olds have been unable to confirm their superiority after the winter break as new stars appear on the scene.

The Guineas also ignite the ante-post betting on the Derby and Oaks. It is one of the most eagerly awaited meetings of the flat racing season.