The first Classic of the season – the QIPCO 2,000 Guineas – also launches the British Champions Series each year. Here, we take a quick look back at 10 great winners of the 2,000 Guineas:
1. 1947 TUDOR MINSTREL
Trainer: Fred Darling Jockey: Gordon Richards Owner: Arthur Dewar
The champion two-year-old of 1946 (unbeaten in four starts) won at Bath on his reappearance in 1947 before starting at 11/8 favourite for the Guineas and romping home by eight lengths, which remains a record margin. He would have won by a much bigger distance had Gordon Richards not eased him up in the closing stages. Tudor Minstrel started at 4/7 for the Derby on the strength of that runaway victory but did not stay, finishing fourth.
2. 1968 SIR IVOR
Trainer: Vincent O’Brien Jockey: Lester Piggott Owner: Raymond Guest
The American-bred colt was sent out 11/8 favourite and won by a length and a half after having too much speed for Petingo, his principal rival, in the closing stages. Showed similar acceleration to win the Derby on his next start, after which Lester Piggott declared that he was “the best I have ridden”. Piggott, though, had other riches to come.
3. 1970 NIJINSKY
Trainer: Vincent O’Brien Jockey: Lester Piggott Owner: Charles Engelhard
Unbeaten in five starts as a two-year-old, Nijinsky became the first horse in 35 years to win the Triple Crown. None have managed the feat since. His victory in the Guineas, at 4/7 against 13 rivals, was straightforward. He led two out travelling powerfully and was not extended to beat Yellow God by two and a half lengths.
4. 1971 BRIGADIER GERARD
Trainer: Joe Mercer Jockey: Dick Hern Owner: Jean Hislop
Outstanding colt who won 17 of his 18 races. Faced only five rivals at Newmarket but it was a sparkling renewal, with the three best two-year-olds of the previous season – My Swallow, Mill Reef and Brigadier Gerard – colliding head on. Mill Reef and My Swallow had won their prep races and started at 6/4 and 2/1, respectively, but Brigadier Gerard, making his reappearance and sent out at 11/2, surged past the pair of them to win by three lengths.
5. 1976 WOLLOW
Trainer: Henry Cecil Jockey: Gianfranco Dettori Owner: Carlo d’Alessio
The runaway champion two-year-old of 1975 – he was rated at least 5lb superior to all his peers – won the Greenham on his return and then decisively beat 16 opponents in the Guineas after being sent o at evens. Started 11/10 favourite for the Derby next time but did not last home, nishing fifth. Henry Cecil, the winning trainer, was to keep that in mind more than three decades later, when Frankel arrived at his yard.
6. 1984 EL GRAN SENOR
Trainer: Vincent O’Brien Jockey: Pat Eddery Owner: Robert Sangster
Unbeaten in four starts as a juvenile and beat Sadlers Wells, his stablemate, on his return. He preserved his 100 percent record when beating the exalted trio of Chief Singer, Lear Fan and Rainbow Quest in his Guineas and then started odds-on for the Derby. However, he was outstayed by Secreto, before going one better in the Irish equivalent.
7. 1986 DANCING BRAVE
Trainer: Guy Harwood Jockey: Greville Starkey Owner: Prince Khalid Abdullah
His emphatic three-length defeat of Green Desert, after being sent out 15/8 favourite, helped establish him as one of the greatest thoroughbreds there has been. Unfortunate to lose his unbeaten record in the Derby on his next start before famously landing a vintage renewal of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in the autumn.
8. 1989 NASHWAN
Trainer: Dick Hern Jockey: Willie Carson Owner: Hamdan Al Maktoum
Operated under the radar as a two-year-old, winning both his starts (like Dancing Brave before him). He was a huge gamble for the Guineas, though, after word of sizzling gallops got out and he won by a length as 3/1 favourite. Went on to win the Derby, Eclipse and King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes during a memorable summer.
9. 2009 SEA THE STARS (pictured)
Trainer: John Oxx Jockey: Mick Kinane Owner: Christopher Tsui
Not an obvious candidate for Guineas glory – he was beaten in his only race as a two-year-old and had an interrupted preparation – but he moved easily throughout and eased a length clear of Delegator, the favourite, in the closing stages. Went from strength to strength afterwards, winning the Derby, Eclipse, International Stakes. Irish Champion Stakes and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
10. 2011 FRANKEL
Trainer: Henry Cecil Jockey: Tom Queally Owner: Prince Khalid Abdullah
Regarded by many as the greatest thoroughbred to have graced the turf, Frankel was a remarkable six-length winner – making all and burning out the opposition a long way from home. The 1/2 favourite had been 15 lengths clear at halfway, setting fractions usually reserved for protagonists in the July Cup. His story was to have many more unforgettable chapters and, by the time he was retired, he had won all 14 of his races – nine of them at Group One level.