The QIPCO 2000 Guineas, is one of Newmarket’s Group 1 races, open to three-year-old colts and fillies and boasts an impressive roll of honour including the unforgettable Frankel. The race takes place at 3.35pm on Saturday 5th May.
Although they only have to carry 8st 11lbs compared to the 9st a colt is allotted, fillies very rarely contest the QIPCO 2000 Guineas nowadays.
They almost invariably stick to their own equivalent event, the QIPCO 1000 Guineas which is run the day after on a Sunday. The last filly to triumph was Garden Path in 1944.
Charlie Appleby reports Masar is ready and raring to go ahead of his run in the 2000 Guineas.
The Godolphin owned colt put a disappointing run in Dubai well behind him when making every yard to score a nine-length victory in the Craven Stakes at Newmarket on his return to British shores.
Appleby believes the dirt surface at Meydan was to blame for Masar's Dubai defeat.
Masar has already raced in four countries, having won the Solario Stakes at Sandown in September before heading to Chantilly, where he was third to Happily in Prix Jean-Luc Lagadere and the Breeders’ Cup in Del Mar, where he was almost three lengths behind Aidan O’Brien’s Kentucky Derby hope Mendelssohn.
Gustav Klimt was installed as the favourite for the 2000 Guineas after swooping through late in the day to capture the Ballylinch Stud 2,000 Guineas Trial Stakes at Leopardstown.
Aidan O’Brien’s runner had been off the track since winning the Superlative Stakes at Newmarket last July, but punters were all over him that day, sending him off the 6/4 favourite for the seven-furlong event.
His stablemate and last year's European champion two-year-old U S Navy Flag disappointed in the same race, trailing home last of the four runners.
Elarqam & Cardsharp
Elarqam is unbeaten in two career starts and he has not been seen in competitive action since landing the Tattersalls Stakes at Newmarket last September. He did however have a racecourse gallop over the Rowley Mile during the Craven meeting.
Elarqam certainly boasts a top class pedigree. The three-year-old is a son of the brilliant Frankel, who won the 2000 Guineas seven years ago, out of trainer Mark Johnston’s top-class racemare Attraction, who won five Group Ones, including the 1000 Guineas in 2004.
Johnston also intends to saddle Cardsharp, the winner of the Arqana July Stakes and placed repeatedly at the highest level in his last campaign.
The colt has only had one start this season, when he was well beaten at Deauville earlier this month.
Saxon Warrior remains on Ballydoyle's radar for the 2,000 Guineas next weekend, trainer Aidan O'Brien reported last Friday, despite taking a marked drift in the betting.
Saxon Warrior did all his racing over a mile last year, once of his main quality being a turn of foot. He quickened up nicely to win with ease on his debut, then he did his rivals for speed in a Group 2 at Naas. In the Racing Post Trophy, he travelled strongly before finding something extra when headed.
The Deep Impact colt will be arriving at Newmarket without a prep run but it is nothing that unduly worries O’Brien.
Without Parole looked a Pattern-race type when his obvious talent came to the fore at Yarmouth on debut.
The son of Frankel, hold entries in the 2000 Guineas and the Dante, went into many notebooks initially when he made a winning debut at Newcastle last December, and look good once again with a six-length victory in the John Kemp 4x4 Centre Of Norwich Novice Stakes at Yarmouth last Tuesday.
It took a while for Without Parole to hit top gear but when he did it was decisive and John Gosden's charge swept past the front-runner Ostilio with ease. It was a further eight lengths back to Cheer The Title in third.
Sir Michael Stoute’s Expert Eye had previously been favourite for the 2000 Guineas after seeing off a competitive field in Goodwood’s Vintage Stakes last July.
He remained out of action until the Dewhurst at Newmarket when sent off the hot favourite but he failed to show that same sparkle as he trailed home last in a field of nine.
In the recent Greenham Stakes at Newbury much of the pre-race focus was on Expert Eye but he was foiled on the day by the George Scott trained James Garfield, going down by just three-quarters of a length.
Although holding his price in the market around the 12/1 mark, John Gosden is very lukewarm on the idea of running Roaring Lion at Newmarket on Saturday.
The Qatar Racing-owned colt failed to strengthen his Classic claims after he could only finish third in the Craven Stakes, in which he was sent off the 8-13 favourite.
James Garfield stepped into the 2000 Guineas picture with a second Group success at Newbury in the Al Basti Equiworld Supporting Greatwood Greenham Stakes.
Winner of the Mill Reef Stakes last September, the George Scott trained colt narrowly got the upper hand over fellow 2000 Guineas rival, Expert Eye.
Scott is only 29 years of age and has held a training licence for little more than two years. James Garfield is owned and was bred by Scott’s father-in-law and brother-in-law, Bill and Tim Gredley.
The colt is likely to have the services of Frankie Dettori once again on Saturday.
Weekend weather outlook
Conditions at Newmarket are expected to improve ahead of the QIPCO Guineas Festival next weekend once a period of wet weather has passed through the region.
The going was described as good, good to soft in places on Sunday afternoon following rain on Friday and early on Saturday.
More rain is forecast from late on Sunday until Tuesday morning but after that it should be a relatively dry week.
*Odds subject to change - correct at time of writing*