2000 Guineas Preview 2020

Arizona
Arizona and Ryan Moore (Photo Creds – Luke Keena)

By Samantha Martin (@sam_angelina22)

It has been a long wait but finally the first Classic of the season – the 2000 Guineas – is upon us! No crowds will flock to Newmarket this year for the one mile group one due to social distancing measures in the wake of the Coronavirus Pandemic but ITV are showing the race on the main channel from 1pm.

Fifteen of the most talented colts in Britain and Ireland are set to contest this classic. Aidan O’Brien is the leading trainer in the history of the race with ten victories and he is represented by four horses. He has won the race for the past three years with Churchill, Saxon Warrior and Magna Grecia. Ryan Moore and Frankie Dettori are the only jockeys to have won the race before and they partner Arizona and Wichita respectively – both for the master Irish trainer.

However, all eyes will be on Pinatubo! Trained by Charlie Appleby for Godolphin, this colt was electric at two years of age and his unbeaten run of six victories has earned him a rating of 128, higher than that of Frankel. Only one horse has been rated higher at the end of their two year old campaign and that was Celtic Swing, who was rated 130, meaning he is higher rated than the mighty Frankel was at this time of his spellbinding career.

Despite the high rating, this is not a one-horse race.
Here is your Runner By Runner Guide for the 2020 Qipco 2000 Guineas Stakes…

NO1. Al Suhail (5)

Dubawi x Shirocco Star (Shirocco)

Trainer- Charlie Appleby

Jockey- James Doyle

Al Suhail will be ridden by James Doyle and he’ll have the red cap of Godolphin. Al Suhail won convincingly on his second start at Yarmouth in August and then contested the Solario Stakes when he finished a length behind second-placed Kameko. When last seen in October, he followed in Military March in the group three Autumn Stakes, and he was just out-fought at the line by his fellow Godolphin inmate. It was soft ground that day and firmer ground would aid his cause. I think the general vibe around this horse is that this is a stepping stone to the Derby but he wouldn’t be in the race if he didn’t have a solid chance.

NO2. Arizona (13)

No Nay Never x Lady Ederle (English Channel)

Trainer- Adian O’Brien

Jockey- Ryan Moore

Arizona was a busy two-year-old – he ran seven times and in four different countries. He hacked up on his second start and then won the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot. He finished fourth in the Prix Morny and third in the National Stakes at the Curragh, behind Pinatubo. That pair faced off again in the Dewhurst and Pinatubo prevailed once again with Arizona second and Wichita third. On his final start of 2019, he finished fifth in the Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf, arguably a bit unlucky. He is Pinatubo’s biggest threat on paper and in the betting market.

NO3. Cepheus (10)

Sea The Stars x Crimson Cheer (Van Nistelrooy)

Trainer- Brian Meehan

Jockey- Jim Crowley

This Sea The Stars colt, Cepheus, has ran just once in his career when staying on to win at Newmarket, beating Volkan Star. Three winners have come out of that race but that form doesn’t stack up anywhere near to the quality of that of his opposition in this race.

NO4. Juan Elcano (14)

Frankel x Whatami (Daylami)

Trainer- Kevin Ryan

Jockey- Andrea Atzeni

Juan Elcano got off to winning ways on his debut at Haydock on heavy going. Next time, he finished second in the Superlative Stakes at Newmarket and then managed a good third behind the smart Threat, who is being aimed at the St James’ Palace, in the Champagne Stakes, with Royal Dornoch in fifth. He’s by Frankel but I don’t think he is quite up to this calibre of opponent.

NO5. Kameko (15)

Kitten’s Joy x Sweeter Still (Rock Of Gibraltar)

Trainer- Andrew Balding

Jockey- Oisin Murphy

Kameko is a son of Kitten’s Joy and out of a dual winning Rock Of Gibraltar mare. He won on debut at Sandown and then returned to that course to be third in the Solario Stakes, beating Al Suhail. Next time out, he was beaten a neck by Royal Dornoch in the Royal Lodge after leading from two furlongs out but getting headed close home. He put that behind him to win the rearranged group one Vertem Futurity Trophy in emphatic style, with Kinross fifth and New World Tapestry eighth. He’s an exciting horse and third favourite in most places.

NO6. Kenzai Warrior (6)

Karakontie x lemon Sakhee (Lemon Drop Kid)

Trainer- Roger Teal

Jockey- Jason Watson

Over the past few weeks, I have been lucky enough to interview Kenzai Warrior’s jockey Jason Watson, who said the horse has “something special about him”, and his trainer Roger Teal who told me that “he seems to have come on from last year and he’s very exciting for us so hopefully he can be our next big thing.” The yard is in great form as their exciting sprinter, Oxted, won well in the Aubernat Stakes. This son of Japanese-bred stallion Karakontie won on debut by a neck to Max Vega, who subsequently won the Zetland Stakes. Next time, he took the Horris Hill over seven furlongs in great style on heavy ground. I don’t think he is ground dependant but the rain forecasted won’t hamper his chances. There is an awful lot to like about this horse and he’s definitely overpriced.

NO7. Kinross (12)

Kingman x Ceilidh House (Selkirk)

Trainer- Ralph Beckett

Jockey- Harry Bentley

In October, Kinross put to bed an impressive victory in a field of good horses, winning by eight lengths, on his debut. This performance earned him favouritism in the rearranged group one Vertem Futurity Trophy. He didn’t look especially comfortable in the early stages and got in a bit of a barging match with the Godolphin horse Verboten. At the end of the race, he couldn’t get close to the winner, Kameko, or the three Aidan O’Brien horses and finished fifth. He’s nicely bred – by Kingman and out of a listed winning mare.

NO8. Military March (3)

New Approach x Punctilious (Danehill)

Trainer- Saheed Bin Suroor

Jockey- Hector Crouch

This son of New Approach is a hugely exciting ride for talented jockey Hector Crouch. He rode the horse to a one and a quarter length victory on debut on the July course. Seventy-seven days later, the big horse ran in the Autumn Stakes. He led for most of the way and by about a furlong to go, he was locked in a ferocious battle with Al Suhail, going well clear of the remainder, but Military March prevailed. This horse is currently 7/1 favourite for the Derby and, even though a big run is expected here, the Derby will be more of his cup of tea.

NO9. Mums Tipple (1)

Footstepsinthesand x Colomone Cross (Xaar)

Trainer- Richard Hannon

Jockey- Sean Levey

Mums Tipple runs for the Richard Hannon stable, who have been successful with horses at big prices over the past few years as they won the 2014 2000 Guineas with Night Of Thunder; the 2018 1000 Guineas with Billesdon Brook and, last year, King Of Change was second to Magna Grecia at 66/1. Mums Tipple won at Ascot in July and then absolutely hacked up at York in the ultra-competitive Premier Yearling Stakes by eleven lengths. Stepped up into group one company, he could only manage seventh of eight in the Middle Park. He’s stepping up into unknown territory, going from sprint distances to the mile but his sire Footstepsinthesand won this very race.

NO10. New World Tapestry (8)

War Front x Tapestry (Galileo)

Trainer- Aidan O’Brien

Jockey- Adam Kirby

New World Tapestry is possibly the pacemaker for the other three O’Brien runners and he’ll be partnered by Adam Kirby. He was third on debut to Arizona and came fourth in a maiden at the Curragh. He won nicely in a maiden at Newmarket over seven furlongs and then finished eighth of eleven at Newcastle in the Vertem Futurity. He’s already had one run this season coming third over a mile at Kempton in March and he has an awful lot to find with the rest of the field.

NO11. Persuasion (11)

Acclamation x Effervesce (Galileo)

Trainer- Charlie Hills

Jockey- Kieran Shoemark

Persuasion got off to winning ways on his first start and was then sixth in the Acomb Stakes. Next time out, he ran really well to be second to Wichita in the Tattersalls Stakes, albeit beaten seven lengths. The rest of the field was strung out in behind. It is exciting for his jockey Kieran Shoemark to get the leg up in a classic but this horse is one of the bigger-priced runners.

Pinatubo
Pinatubo after his win in the National Stakes (Photo Cred Luke Keena)

NO12. Pinatubo (7)

Shamardal x Lava Flow (Dalakhani)

Trainer- Charlie Appleby

Jockey- William Buick

Pinatubo is the horse everyone has been talking about all through lockdown. The questions are flying around – has he trained on? Is he bigger and stronger than last year? Is he really better than Frankel was at this time in his career? No one will know until he steps foot onto that hallowed Newmarket turf and runs in the biggest race of his life to date. He started his career on the Wolverhampton All Weather, beating Platinum Star, who has since won the Ripon Two Year Old Trophy and a valuable race in Meydan. He then won the Woodcote, listed Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot, the group two Vintage Stakes at Glorious Goodwood and he then went over to Ireland and won by a staggering nine lengths in the National Stakes, beating Arizona. He returned to England and won the Dewhurst, in which he beat Arizona and Wichita. The Appleby yard is in good form with two-year-old Creative Force winning on Thursday and the giant Ghaiyyath breaking the course record in the Coronation Cup. Pinatubo was, without a shadow of a doubt, the standout two year old of 2019 and it would be great for horse racing to have another Frankel-esque horse to capture our hearts and minds.

NO13. Royal Dornoch (2)

Gleneagles x Bridal Dance (Danehill Dancer)

Trainer- Aidan O’Brien

Jockey- Tom Marquand

Royal Dornoch has improved significantly through last season. He was eleventh on debut and then second in a similar maiden. He went to Glorious Goodwood and finished third in the Richmond Stakes. Then, he went to Deauville for the Prix Morny and he finished three places behind Arizona. He finally won his maiden at Gowran before coming last in the Champagne Stakes behind Juan Elcano. He sprung something of a surprise to win the Royal Lodge, beating Kameko. Aidan O’Brien has acknowledged the talents of Tom Marquand, who rode English King to win the Lingfield Derby Trial on Friday, and booked him for this son of Gleneagles.

NO14. Starcat (4)

Lope De Vega x Purr Along (Mount Nelson)

Trainer- Hughie Morrison

Jockey- PJ McDonald

Starcat only made his debut in December and he stayed on well to win at Kempton, when the track was riding slow. He’s by Lope De Vega and out of a dual group three winning Mount Nelson mare, who received a peak rating of 111. He’s a horse we know very little about.

NO15. Wichita (9)

No Nay Never x Lumiere Noire (Dashing Blade)

Trainer- Aidan O’Brien

Jockey- Frankie Dettori

Aidan O’Brien has enlisted the services of Frankie Dettori for Wichita, his second string. This No Nay Never colt won nicely on debut before finishing second in the Flying Scotsman. The horse who came third to him that day, Berlin Tango, has since finished in front of New World Tapestry in March and, on Wednesday, won the rearranged Classic Trial, moved from Sandown, at Kempton. Next time, Wichita won the Tattersalls Stakes, beating Persuasion. When last seen, he followed in Pinatubo and Arizona in the Dewhurst Stakes. He has scope to improve significantly over the Winter.

2000 Guineas draws

DRAWS

The draw bias of Newmarket is often spoken about and the ‘draw’ is an interesting part of flat racing. Analysing where horses are drawn helps to determine where the pace will come from and how the race could be run.

Last year, the runners split into two groups and it was Magna Grecia and King Of Change, both drawn in the high numbers and raced alone, took the first two places. Kameko, Juan Elcano and Arizona are in stalls 15, 14 and 13, the highest ones. In 2018, Saxon Warrior and Tip Two Win came out of stalls 9 and 10 in a fourteen-runner race. Cepheus and Wichita are set to jump from those stalls this year.

Racing on Friday showed that prominent horses have been winning, after great performances by Marie’s Diamond and Ghaiyyath from the front end. It may pay to be prominent if there is still a tail wind at 3:35 on Saturday. I think the pace angle in this race is going to be New World Tapestry under Adam Kirby for Aidan O’Brien. He’ll have a master plan to try and run the race to benefit his other three runners and Pinatubo not so much. Pinatubo is drawn in 7, right next to New World Tapestry, so I imagine Pinatubo will follow him through the race. You have to factor in the other two Godolphin horses too though. It is possible that his stablemate Al Suhail, drawn in 5, could act as Pinatubo’s pacemaker. He’s drawn close enough to New World Tapestry to take the 89-rated horse on in the early strides and engineer the race to suit Pinatubo. Mums Tipple is very quick away from the stalls normally and he is drawn in one. In the Dewhurst, Arizona led the field when second string to Wichita. He’s drawn in 13 which is quite far away from his stablemates. I doubt they’ll split into two groups like last year because everyone will want to be keeping tabs on Pinatubo but Arizona could lead a small group with Kameko, Juan Elcano, Kinross and Persuasion.

SELECTION

I think that Pinatubo is going to be extremely hard to beat. He was the stand out horse last year and already has two group ones to his name. he has promised so much and the thought of him lining up in this race has kept the flat-fans going through the winter National Hunt season. It would do racing the world of good to have Pinatubo confirm his superstar status. I think he will probably win but KENZAI WARRIOR is without a doubt the value in the race. If he was owned by someone like Godolphin, he would be a significantly shorter price. Roger Teal and James Watson love this horse and they really deserve for this lad to run a good race. The form is in the book and hopefully he can at least get a place! Military March has claims as well.

REST OF THE TEAM

Luke – Arizona

Niamh – Kameko

Killian – Wichita

Lois – Kenzai Warrior EW

Make sure to listen to our podcast previewing this weekend’s racing- https://anchor.fm/rein-it-in-racing/episodes/Preview-of-this-weekends-racing-including-the-2-000-and-1-000-Guineas-ef052q

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