The brilliant Punchestown Festival essentially brings an end to the best of the NH season and it ends on the very same day that the first Classic of the flat campaign starts. Nice timing, meaning the world class racing and betting never ends!
2000 Guineas – 4th May 2019
The first Classic is, as ever, the 200 Guineas, with Newmarket the host for that and the 1000 Guineas the next day (see below). These are the youngest two of the five Classics, with the open-sex 2000 Guineas having been first run back in 1809.
This brilliant one-mile contest has been won by horses such as Nijinsky (1970), Brigadier Gerard (1971), Rock of Gibraltar (2002) and Frankel (2011). Saxon Warrior took glory 12 months ago, landing this race with Donnacha O’Brien in the saddle, meaning for the second year in a row that Aidan O’Brien was the trainer celebrating.
As ever in these big races, O’Brien will have a strong hand once again and you can check out our full 2000 Guineas tips and offers post for more info. At the time of writing the favourite is Magna Grecia at odds of 7/2 with Coral and others.
Trained by – guess who? – Aidan O’Brien, this impressive colt has two wins to his name already, including last time out in the Group 1 Vertem Futurity Trophy Stakes. He is a worthy favourite for sure and will take some beating.
Next in the betting comes Ten Sovereigns at 5/1 with bet365, with Skardu and Madhmoon both on offer at 15/2 and Advertise a shade longer at a widely available 8/1. Of those the one we like at this stage is Advertise, with Martyn Meade’s colt being one of the more experienced contenders in the field.
He was second to Too Darn Hot last time out and hasn’t been seen since October. Stepping up to a mile for the first time should suit and 8/1 is a big price given how he has looked in his three wins and two seconds to date.
1000 Guineas – 5th May 2019
Moving onto the fillies-only race the next day, the 1000 Guineas is always a contest to savour. Founded five years later than the 2000 Guineas, this is also run at Newmarket over one mile and again sees the best three year olds around compete for glory.
The likes of Cape Verdi (1998), Legatissimo (2015) and last year’s champion Billesdon Brook are among the recent winners. As with all the Classics, it usually takes a special horse to win this one but last year we saw a major surprise, with Billesdon Brook an unfancied 66/1 outsider. Those were the longest winning odds in the history of the race so well done if you were on board!
Again, Aidan O’Brien may be the trainer to watch, with the Irishman having saddled the 1000 Guineas winner in 2012, 2016 and 2017. The ownership trio of Magnier, Tabor and Smith have done even better though, with their horses landing the second Classic in 2005 (just Tabor and Magnier), 2012, 2015, 2016 and 2017.
The 2019 race favourite is currently Qabala, priced at odds of 3/1 with 888sport, with Skitter Scatter next at 6/1 (Betfair). Just Wonderful (7/1), Fairyland (8/1) and Iridessa (also 8/1) complete the options priced at single digit odds.
Of those the one who we feel offers most value is the Irish horse Fairyland. It’s Aidan O’Brien again and Michael Tabor is once again involved in the ownership as well. Fairyland could be really special we fancy and has won more than £350,000 already, winning four of her five races. This will be her seasonal reappearance but she won at Newmarket last time out so we know she likes the course. The ground won’t be an issue either, with good to firm perfect for this daughter of Kodiac, so check out the odds of 8/1 at bet365, Coral and others. Alternatively, take a look at our main 1000 Guineas tips feature.
Lots More to Enjoy in May
Of course, with May stretched out in front of us there is much more racing to savour. The Classics start the month with a bang but there are loads of other huge meetings throughout the month to keep us interested.
Chester’s May Festival, the three-day Dante Festival at York, the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury, the brilliant racing just keeps on coming. There will be plenty of trials races along the way, offering up pointers for some of the biggest races that lie ahead. Some of those roads lead, of course, to The Derby.
The Derby Festival gets underway at the end of the month, starting on Friday 31st with the third Classic of the season The Oaks. There are plenty more Group 1s at the two-day meeting, with the Coronation Cup on day one as well, before June starts with a bang and the Derby itself!
As ever, whoever you fancy betting on in any of these huge races, using one of the available free bets is a great way to improve your odds of making a profit. We’ve got loads of free bets, all from highly reputable racing bookmakers, so don’t miss out.