We know the planned date for the 2000 Guineas, now we just need to find the winner. It is high time we looked through the key contenders to work out who is worth backing to come out on top at Newmarket on June 6.
Everything revolves around the unbeaten Godolphin colt, who will probably not be beaten if he is as good as he looked when bolting up on National Stakes day at the Curragh last September.
Winning a Group 1 race by nine lengths was an amazing effort and suggested he was one of the best two-year-olds of recent seasons.
But he was not quite so impressive in following up in the Dewhurst at Newmarket, may not be so far clear of his contemporaries nine months on and is odds-on in places – which is a short price to take after the uncertainties everyone has faced this spring.
Ryan Moore does not speak publicly very often but when he does he is well worth listening to.
The former champion jockey nominated Arizona as a live 2000 Guineas contender this spring and he knows what he is talking about, having won the race twice for Aidan O’Brien in the last five years.
It’s not just talk either. Arizona has decent form credentials too, having got closer to Pinatubo than most when second in the Dewhurst.
The 2000 Guineas is the only British classic that John Gosden has never won – could this be the horse to break his duck?
He certainly looked good in winning two minor races last season but a leg injury prevented his being tried in better company and his true level of ability is anybody’s guess.
The bookmakers’ guess is that he is pretty good and they quote him at no better than 14-1, which looks plenty short enough for an untried colt who was robbed of his planned prep run in the Greenham Stakes by the coronavirus shutdown.
Here is another Group 1 winner, the colt who won the first top-level race run on the all-weather in Britain when landing the Vertem Futurity at Newcastle last autumn.
He is unquestionably a progressive horse and there was no fluke about that Tapeta success, seeing off no fewer than five colts from Ballydoyle.
But there is a suspicion from his style of racing that he may prove best over slightly further than a mile – it is no surprise that he is at the forefront of betting on the Derby over a mile and a half.
Richard Hannon is always a man to take seriously in the 2000 Guineas, whatever the odds. He won it with 40-1 shot Night Of Thunder in 2014 and had King Of Change finish second at 66-1 last year.
His challenger to Pinatubo this time is the aptly-named Threat, who could well prove a danger to the favourite.
He put up a smart performance to defy a penalty in the Group 2 Champagne Stakes at Doncaster last September and will improve for stepping up to a mile, having been outpaced in the six-furlong Middle Park Stakes.
Hannon’s bullish recent comments about a colt who “has done really well in the last few months and couldn’t look any better” encourage the hope that Threat will be spot-on for Newmarket – the 20/1 offered about him by Bet365 looks well worth taking.
More to read: