australia racing

2000 Guineas 2014 – Newmarket Runners & Odds

The Flat season hits top gear on Saturday courtesy of the first Classic of the season, namely the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket over 1m (3.50).

John Gosden’s Kingman (11/8), remains at the forefront of the betting. This colt shot to prominence after winning a Group 3 at Sandown Park last summer (7f, good to firm), quickening impressively. That performance saw his odds slashed into 5/1 for the Guineas, but they were cut even shorter when demonstrating he had wintered well by winning a Group 3 at Newbury last month (7f, good).

Indeed, that victory last time in the Greenham when quickening once more to see off Night Of Thunder (25/1) over 4l was the same race Frankel used in 2011 before victory here. Kingman faces an extra furlong on Saturday, but that shouldn’t be a problem, especially as his dam was a French Guineas winner.

As for Kingman’s odds of 11/8, then the stats show that since 1997, of the eight favourites to have lined-up at 6/4 or shorter, only three obliged, which may concern those looking to steam into him at 11/8.

So, who will line-up in an attempt to try and topple Kingman at HQ? Well, on 3/1 is Aidan O’Brien’s, Australia, who despite losing on his debut in June, won his next two outings, including a Group 3 when last seen at Leopardstown in September (1m, good).

This son of Galileo is impeccably bred being out of the champion winning mare, Ouija Board, but both sides of his breeding suggest he may be even better beyond 1m. Even so, Australia oozes class and represents a trainer who knows what he is doing in this Classic, having won it six times since 1998.

But, O’Brien could also be represented by the 8/1 shot, War Command, who was so impressive when landing a Group 2 at Royal Ascot (6f, good), before further Group 2 success at the Curragh (7f, good).

It was his final outing at Newmarket, however, when winning the Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes (7f, good to soft), which confirmed he was a serious player for the Guineas. He may not have recorded a flashy performance like stablemate, Australia, but his determined style will put him in good stead come the big day.

This will be a big season for Richard Hannon Junior, who takes the reins from his father, Richard, and he has a real chance of making a name for himself with the unbeaten, Toormore (6/1). Officially rated the best horse in the line-up, Toormore won the Group 1 National Stakes at the Curragh last season (7f, good), before showing his wellbeing with a 2l win in a Group 3 over C&D a few weeks back.

In a normal 2,000 Guineas, Toormore may have started favourite for the race, but with this year’s renewal proving especially hot, he represents value odds at 6/1.

Another who is bigger odds than his form has shown is Roger Varian’s 8/1 shot, Kingston Hill, who went undefeated in all three juvenile outings last year. The second of those wins was a Group 3 win here over C&D, before a Group 1 win in the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster (1m, soft).

Connections have reported Kingston Hill to be on course for Saturday, and it’s amazing to think that this unbeaten colt has won over C&D, with a Group 1 on his CV, is still as big as 8/1. If he handles the faster ground, then he must go close.

There is a European challenge via Noozhoh Canarias (16/1), who was second in a French Group 1 last term (7f, soft), before trotting up in a minor race five weeks ago. He fits the ‘could be anything’ category, and any rain would increase his chance.

Freddie Head also sends over the 25/1 chance, Charm Spirit, who was just over 1l behind Noozhoh Canarias in the aforementioned French Group 1 last term, before scrapping home to take a Group 3 back in France a month ago (7f, good). He has talent but may be found wanting in this hot renewal.

As for who could win the first Classic, then it is Australia who gets the nod, in what should prove a big year for this highly talented colt.

But with such a competitive renewal to solve, here are the full trends covering the last 18 winners…

17 of the 18 winners scored over 6f-7f – five won over this 1m trip.
16 had a maximum of five career outings.
16 returned 11/1 or shorter.
15 were British or Irish-bred – the exceptions were American.
15 won last time.
14 experienced Pattern class, where 13 scored. Importantly, every Irish-trained winner took a Group race as a juvenile. Five of the British-trained victors won no more than a maiden or conditions event as juveniles.
Aidan O’Brien won six times, and Sir Michael Stoute three.
In large fields of 18 runners or more, low to middle numbers accounted for all nine winners.