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A QIPCO Newmarket Guineas Festival Preview

The QIPCO Newmarket Guineas Festival is the first leg of the British Classics. There are two thoroughbred horse races held in the Newmarket Racecourse, the 2,000 Guineas Stakes and the 1,000 Guineas Stakes. The 2,000 Guineas Stakes are open to 3 year old colts and fillies, whilst the 1,000 Guineas Stakes are exclusively for fillies. Both races are Group 1 flat races raced on turf tracks at a distance of one mile.

The races are held in Newmarket, a town that has an affinity with horse racing and royalty, where horse racing is known as the "sport of kings". The town is famous for being the birthplace of modern horse racing, where the first official races were held and the first Jockey Clubs were formed.

The races are usually held at the end of April or the start of May, over the course of three days, from Friday through Sunday. As well as featuring the two classic races, there are a number of additional Stakes including the Maiden Stakes and Handicap Stakes, run over different distances. The 2,000 Guineas Stakes are usually run on the Saturday, while the 1,000 Guineas are run on the Sunday.

History of the QIPCO Guineas Festival

The history of the festival predates modern horse racing clubs and rules, going back to the reign of James I. The Newmarket Racecourse was founded in 1636 and held a number of historic races that were the predecessors of the modern races. In 1665, Charles II created the Newmarket Town Plate, a race that is still run to this day after the monarch decreed that it should be run "forever". He won the race himself in 1671, and remains to date the only reigning monarch to have done so.

The King's Plate was also added, and both races were the most valuable up until 1744, when two more Plates were added. In 1750, the Jockey Club was officially founded, and they started regulating and recording races. The owned all of the great British racecourses, including Newmarket, and in 1809 they ran the first 2,000 Guineas Stakes. The race was created by Sir Charles Bunbury, who established the highly popular Epsom Derby which is still one of the largest horse races to this day. The name was 2,000 Guineas Stakes because the prize for the winner was 2,000 guineas (the equivalent of £97,700 in modern day pounds).

The Stakes were so successful that five years later the 1,000 Guineas Stakes were introduced for fillies. The two races became the most prominent horse races in Britain, and along with The Oaks and The Derby at Epsom Downs and the St Leger Stakes in Doncaster, the five races became the British Classics. Within 100 years of the introduction of the British Classics, the Germans, French and Italians had started developing their own equivalents to the 2,000 and 1,000 Guineas Stakes.

In 1853, bay colt West Australian won the 2,000 Guineas Stakes, The Derby and the St Leger Stakes to win the first Triple Crown, a term that was coined later. Since then there have been a number of winners but in recent times the feat has not been attempted because the different lengths of the tracks poses a danger to horses. The 2,000 Guineas Stakes is run over one mile, The Derby is run over one mile, 4 furlongs and 10 yards (just over 1.5 miles) and the St Leger Stakes is run over one mile six furlongs and 132 yards (just over 1.8miles).

QIPCO Guineas Festival Winners and Records

2,000 Guineas Stakes

Most Wins by a Jockey

Jem Robinson won the race 9 times, with Enamel (1825), Cadland (1828), Riddlesworth (1831), Clearwell (1833), Glencoe (1834), Ibrahim (1835), Bay Middleton (1836), Conyngham (1847) and Flatcatcher (1848).

Most Wins by a Trainer

Aidan O'Brien has the most wins for a trainer, with King of Kings (1998), Rock of Gibraltar (2002), Footstepsinthesand (2005), George Washington (2006), Henrythenavigator (2008), Camelot (2012), Gleneagles (2015), Churchill (2017), Saxon Warrior (2018) and Magna Grecia (2019).

Most Wins by an Owner

Sue Magnier (born Susan O'Brien but no relation to Aidan O'Brien) is the leading owner with 10 wins. She has won with Entrepreneur (1997) and in 1998 she hired trainer Aidan O'Brien and won with King of Kings (1998), Rock of Gibraltar (2002), Footstepsinthesand (2005), George Washington (2006), Henrythenavigator (2008), Camelot (2012), Gleneagles (2015), Churchill (2017), Saxon Warrior (2018) and Magna Grecia (2019).

Fastest Speed

The American bred British trained thoroughbred Kameko won the race in 1m 34.72s in 2020.

Biggest Winning Margin

Tudor Minstrel won by 8 lengths, the biggest margin, in 1947

Longest Odds

Rockavon made the biggest upset in 1961, when he won with an odds of 66/1

1,000 Guineas Stakes

Most Wins by a Jockey

George Fordham won seven races as a jockey, with Mayonaise (1859), Nemesis (1861), Siberia (1865), Formosa (1868), Scottish Queen (1869), Thebais (1881) and Hauteur (1883).

Most Wins by a Trainer

Robert Robson hold the record with 9 wins as a trainer, with Corinne (1818), Catgut (1819), Rowena (1820), Zeal (1821), Whizgig (1822), Zinc (1823), Tontine (1825), Problem (1826) and Arab (1827).

Most Wins by an Owner

George Henry FitzRoy, the 4th Duke of Grafton hired trainer Robert Robson in 1819, making him the leading owner with 8 wins with Catgut (1819), Rowena (1820), Zeal (1821), Whizgig (1822), Zinc (1823), Tontine (1825), Problem (1826) and Arab (1827).

Fastest Speed

Ghanaati set the record for the fastest time at 1m 34.22s in 2009.

Biggest Winning Margin

Mayonaise won the Stakes with 20 lengths in 1859, the biggest margin.

Longest Odds

Billesdon Brook won at the longest odds in 2018 at 66/1.

How to Bet on the Newmarket Guineas Festival

Betting on horse races is a tradition as old as the sport itself. The sportsbook covers all of the major horse racing events through the year and it is easy to place your bets through our website and via your mobile device.

The standard horse bets include Win, Place and Each-Way bets. The win bet pays the highest odds, as it is a straight bet on which horse will finish the race first. The place bet covers both first and second places, the horse that the bet is put on can finish in either position for the bet to pay out. The each-way bet offers players the chance to bet on a horse to finish first, but will pay out some of the winnings if the horse finishes in second place. The each-way bet has slightly higher odds than the place bet, were the horse to finish first, but the place would pay higher if the horse finished in second place.

In addition to the standard bets, there are a number of “exotic” bets that can be placed. The Exacta, Trifecta and Superfecta are far higher paying bets but they will require you to make more specific predictions such as: the horses that finish first and second in the correct order, the horses that finish first, second and third in any order, and the horses that finish first, second, third and fourth in the correct order. These bets are far harder to win then the standard bets, but the potential winnings are far larger.

While it adds to the thrill of the race, horse betting should only be done responsibly and you should never bet more money than you can spare to lose. If you feel you need help or more information on how to gamble responsibly, you can turn to organisations such as

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