This year’s 2,000 Guineas looks a typically high-class renewal, although coming so early in the season it features a host of unexposed types open to improvement (3.45pm Saturday at Newmarket).
Trainer Aidan O’Brien holds a strong hand with Gleneagles (11/4) due to be ridden by Ryan Moore, and Ol’ Man River (7/1) by his son, Joseph. Gleneagles was disqualified from first place and placed third in the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere at Longchamp last October, but had previously won the National Stakes at the Curragh and probably just about sets the standard here. The Galileo colt should have no problem staying an extra furlong and, although he has an absence of 206 days to overcome, his trainer is likely to have left nothing to work on.
Ol’ Man River is also stoutly bred, being by Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner Montjeu, and already has winning form over a mile. The bare form of his win in the Beresford Stakes at the Curragh in September suggests he has work to do to win, but Aidan O’Brien has won the 2,000 Guineas six times clearly knows what’s required so it would be unwise to write him off.
Richard Hannon (pictured), who saddled last year’s 40/1 winner Night Of Thunder, makes life difficult for punters again by saddling four in Estidhkaar (8/1), Ivawood (12/1), Kool Kompany (25/1) and Moheet (33/1).
Ivawood, the choice of stable jockey Richard Hughes, is officially the highest rated of the quartet, but Estidhkaar looks the clear form pick on his neck defeat by Muhaarar in the Greenham Stakes, over 7 furlongs at Newbury two weeks ago. Ivawood was eased close home in that race eventually finishing third beaten 4¾ lengths. He appeared to be beaten on merit, but it’s worth noting Richard Hughes reported that he ‘blew up very badly’ at Newbury and worked impressively at home last weekend.
It has been a while since André Fabre won the 2,000 Guineas with Zafonic (1993) and Pennekamp (1995), but anything saddled by the veteran French trainer must be feared and Territories (6/1) looks to have a better chance than most. The Invincible Spirit colt was a comfortable winner of the Prix de Fontainbleu over a mile on his reappearance at Longchamp three weeks ago and while the prevailing good to firm going is an unknown he must be on the shortlist.
The 2,000 Guineas has thrown up winners at 40/1, 33/1 and 25/1 in the last 10 years, so it is not always about those at the top of the market.
Indeed, at the very bottom of the market, Room Key (125/1) has won just a lowly Salisbury maiden over 6 furlongs but on a line through Estidhkaar comes out much the same horse as Ivawood. He is by Eclipse Stakes winner Mount Nelson out of a Peintre Celebre mare, so he should come into his own as he steps up in distance and it is unlikely we’ve seen the best of him yet.
Racing Post trophy winner Elm Park (12/1) for trainer Andrew Balding is interesting. Unfashionably and cheaply bred by the trainer’s mother he was then part-sold for a small fortune to the Arabs of Qatar Racing. The yard has been in good form and he could run well at his each-way price.
2000 Guineas betting Tips Verdict
- Richard Hughes is adamant that Ivawood can reverse form with his Greenham Stakes conqueror Estidhkaar now that he’s fully primed. So our 2000 Guineas betting tips advice is to back Richard Hannon’s colt IVAWOOD each-way at best odds of 12/1 with Bet365, one of the only firms paying out on the first four places.