First run in 1809, the year Napoleon was getting his eponymous war into top gear, and neither that conflict, nor two twentieth century World Wars, have managed to interfere with the continuous running of the first Classic of the season. As a result, a possible maximum field of 25 will line up on Newmarket Heath for the 210th renewal of the historic contest. Over the 2 centuries and 9 years there have been quite a few great trainers who have had multiple success’s in the Classic, but none to equal the master of Ballydoyle, Aidan O’Brien, who will be hoping to land the 2000 Guineas for the 10th time in the last 21 years, a truly amazing feat. He has 4 entered at the time of writing, but the two to concentrate on are Magna Grecia and Ten Soverigns.
The former, a son of Invincible Spirit, didn’t see a racecourse until the end of September when starting at odds of 2/1 he comfortably won a seven furlong Naas Maiden on Good-Soft ground. Sent off a 3/1 shot behind the French Hotpot, Persian King (had won his previous 3 races) for the Group3 Autumn Stakes at Headquarters a fortnight later he was beaten a neck after a sustained duel up the Rowley Mile by Andre Fabre’s talented colt, (won a Longchamp Group3 by 5L on his seasonal debut last month). The ground was pretty fast at Newmarket but back on Good/Soft ground a fortnight later in Doncaster’s Group1 Futurity over a mile, he beat the Charles Hill trained Phoenix Of Spain. Beautifully bred, he is out of the Galileo mare Cabaret and it’s worth mentioning that the great stallion, has been the Dam Sire of three of the last five winners of The 2000 Guineas. It could also be significant that if Magna Grecia wins on Saturday, he will be following in the footsteps of two previous Ballydoyle Greats, Camelot and Saxon Warrior, who brought off the Futurity-2000Guineas double.
Ten Soverigns looked something special when coasting home by 7L in a 6f 25 runner Curragh Maiden on his debut last August, and confirmed the impression with an easy victory in a 6f Group3 at the same venue a week later. 4 weeks after that, he took the step up to Group1 level in his stride when winning the 6f Middle Park Stakes, running on well to get the better of the strong travelling runner up, Jash by 1/2L, with the 3rd, Rumble Inthejungle, 3 1/2L behind. A horse with terrific speed, and the concern must be his ability to get the mile, particularly in a Classic. There are mixed messages coming from his pedigree as he is by the sprinter, No Nay Never, and his dam, Seeking Solace, is also by a sprinter, Exceed And Excel. However she did win over 10f and was only beaten a length in a 11f Listed race at Longchamp. One has to mention the poor record of Middle Park winners in The 2000Guineas, but that said, Ten Soverigns was staying on strongly in last year’s renewal of the Newmarket heat.
Veteran handler, Kevin Prendergast (pictured), won this 42 years ago with the Gabriel Curran ridden, Nebbiolo and must be harbouring serious hopes of finding himself in the Newmarket Winning Enclosure for the second time, with the talented, Madhmoon, owned by Sheikh Hamadan Al Maktoum. A son of the 2000 Guineas winner six years ago, Dawn Approach, he won a Leopardstown Maiden (1m Gd) on his debut last August, and followed up a month later with victory in a Group2 (1m Gd-Fm) at the same venue, where he kept on well under a hands and heels ride to win by 2 1/2L from the O’Brien trained Broome. As the runner up was only beaten a neck in the Group1
Prix Jean-Luc Lagardre at Longchamp next time out this was a pretty impressive performance. He made a satisfactory reappearance over an inadequate 7F four weeks ago, finishing 2nd to Never No More conceding 3lbs, and enjoying a nice pipe opener in the process. The veteran trainer, a son of the immortal Paddy “Darkie” Prendergast, who sent out the first Irish trained winner of the 2000Guineas, Martial, in 1960, knows the family of Madhmoon inside out. He trained both the dam Aaraas and the Grandam Adaala and most of their offspring to win plenty of races, and it would be a great result for Kevin if he were to find himself in the winners enclosure on Saturday.
Frankie Dettori has ridden the winner 3 times and Martyn Meade has been lucky to get him for the ride on his son of Showcasing, the well named, Advertise. He has won 2 of his 5 starts including the 6f Group1 Phoenix Stakes at The Curragh last August. He has yet to win beyond 6f, but despite being no match for the winner, Too Darn Hot, in the 7f Dewhurst, he did keep on well to finish 2nd, and had the Ballydoyle hope, Anthony Van Dyke, 1 1/4L back in 3rd. He is by the sprinter Showcasing, out of the Pivotal mare, Furbelows, whose sole success from 3 runs came over 6F, so his pedigree doesn’t offer much hope that he will get the mile, but that said, his Dewhurst run offers some encouragement, and it’s doubtful if Dettori would take the ride on an obvious non stayer.
The Andrew Balding trained Shine So Bright was campaigned in his 5 outings as a 2yo mostly at 6f, and indeed his sole success came in his one run over 5f. However, stepped up to 7f In Newmarket’s Free Handicap on his seasonal debut, he came home 1 3/4L clear of the runner up Space Traveller, and had the 104 rated favourite Azano (rec2lbs) 5 1/4L back in 3rd. He was running on strongly at the finish, looking as if further would suit, and there is plenty of evidence in his pedigree that this may be the case. By Oasis Dream, who gets plenty of winners at a mile+, his dam, Alla Speranza is by the Derby winner Sir Percy, and she won a Leopardstown Group3 over 10f. With Silvestre De Sousa booked and odds of 25/1 available could be interesting.
Selection : Madhmoon
EW. : Shine So Bright