2000 Guineas and 1000 Guineas trends: trainers, jockeys, sires and prep runs

Horse Racing Kameko 2,000 Guineas Newmarket
Kameko (Oisin Murphy) winning the 2020 Qipco 2000 Guineas at Newmarket. Photo: Qipco British Champions Series


Our friends at geegeez.co.uk have used their Query Tool to analyse crucial 2000 Guineas and 1000 Guineas trends and data for a detailed lowdown on which trainers, jockeys and sires are most likely to overperform (and underperform) on the big stage.

The Query Tool data goes back to 2009 and can be used to analyse a huge range of historical performances based on a vast number of criteria.

Top performing trainers in the 2000 Guineas and 1000 Guineas

Aidan O’Brien has been the dominant trainer in the 2000 Guineas since 2009, landing five of the 12 runnings of the Newmarket colts’ Classic during that period – no other trainer has won the race more than once since 2009, meaning we have seven trainers with a sole recent victory.

But it’s worth noting that O’Brien has saddled 27 runners to produce those five wins. That’s more than twice the number of runners any other trainer has had in the race during the same period and it turns out that despite his prolific record, Aidan O’Brien has six other trainers in front of him as far as win percentages go.

Horse Racing 2000 Guineas trainers

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The late Sir Henry Cecil, trainer of the most famous winner of this race in recent times when Frankel scored by six lengths in 2011, had only two runners in the race during the examined period, giving him a 50% strike rate. That win percentage is matched only by John Oxx, who saddled the brilliant Sea The Stars in 2009.

Andrew Balding (Kameko 2020), Hugo Palmer (Galileo Gold 2016) and Mikel Delzangles (Makfi 2010) all boast a 33.33% win strike rate in the 2000 Guineas since 2009. From Delzangles’ three runners in the race, he has a win and a place, giving him a 66.66% place strike rate in the contest, a better place ratio than any other trainer in the past 12 years.

Jim Bolger is the other trainer with a better win percentage than his compatriot Aidan O’Brien – Bolger won this in 2013 with Dawn Approach and he’s had a total of four runners in the 2000 Guineas since 2009, giving him a 25% win percentage. Richard Hannon jnr won it in 2014 with Night Of Thunder and he’s had 12 recent runners which makes his win percentage just 8.33%.

Much has been made of John Gosden’s lack of success in the race – the trainer has had five recent runners without a winner and that quintet of entrants produced just one place (Kingman was second in 2014). He’s now been joined on his training licence by son Thady and perhaps that will signal a change of fortunes.

Only three trainers have had more runners since 2009 without success and they are Mark Johnston (six), Saeed Bin Suroor (seven) and Richard Hannon snr (eight); neither Johnston nor Bin Suroor has even managed a place during the period.

In the fillies’ equivalent, Aidan O’Brien is also the dominant trainer, once again gaining five wins. He’s saddled slightly fewer runners in the 1000 Guineas than in the 2000 Guineas (25 runners) giving him a slightly better win strike rate of 20%. His each-way percentage improves dramatically when looking at the fillies and while his place strike rate in the 2000 Guineas is 25.93%, his 1000 Guineas place percentage is 44%.

Horse Racing 1000 Guineas trainers

It’s also worth comparing performance against market expectation for such a successful trainer and for this we can use A/E (actual v expected). This metric shows the implied profitability of past performance: a figure of more than 1 is good, less than 1 implies a poorer than expected performance.

In the 2000 Guineas since 2009 Aidan O’Brien has an A/E of 1.09 and in the 1,000 Guineas the A/E is 3.11. This suggests it should be far more profitable to follow him in the 1000 Guineas, probably because his runners outside of the first string have a good record in the race.

Again, no other trainer other than O’Brien has more than one victory in the 1000 Guineas since 2009. The Hannon family (jnr and snr) have scored twice though: Richard Hannon snr trained Sky Lantern to victory in 2013 and Richard Hannon jnr was successful with Billesdon Brook in 2018.

Another similarity between Classics is that French trainers have the best win percentage with both sexes. Andre Fabre has had only one runner since 2009 and that was Miss France in 2019, while Criquette Head-Maarek has a 50% strike rate thanks to Special Duty winning in 2010.

A further parallel between the two races is John Gosden’s poor record; he has saddled no fewer than 11 runners since 2009 and has managed no winners and just three places.

Much of O’Brien’s success in the 1000 Guineas has come recently, training four of the past five winners. In fact, he’s trained seven of the most recent ten Guineas winners across both sexes.

Horse Racing Love 1,000 Guineas Newmarket
Love (Ryan Moore) wins the Qipco 1000 Guineas at Newmarket. Photo: Qipco British Champions Series

Top performing jockeys in the 2000 Guineas and 1000 Guineas

There is plenty of correlation between the top trainers in the Guineas and the top jockeys, and the most successful jockeys will generally be those who have been riding for the most successful trainers – namely Aidan O’Brien.

Horse Racing 2000 Guineas jockeys

Since 2009 only Ryan Moore and Donnacha O’Brien have won the 2000 Guineas more than once. Both riders have won it twice with all those successes coming when riding for Aidan O’Brien.

The other jockey to win the 2000 Guineas for Aidan O’Brien was Joseph O’Brien (now training rather than riding) aboard subsequent Derby winner Camelot in 2012; Donnacha O’Brien has had only three rides in the 2000 Guineas and his two wins give him an impressive A/E of 4.25.

Ryan Moore has won four of the last nine 1000 Guineas, with Wayne Lordan next most successful on two wins (Winter in 2017 and Hermosa in 2019). Both of Lordan’s wins came on the stable’s lesser fancied runners, helping him provide an ROI (return on investment) of 400% from his five rides in the race. 

Horse Racing 1000 Guineas jockeys

Top performing sires in the one-mile Classics

There is plenty of guesswork involved in predicting the 2000 and 1000 Guineas winners – there is limited form on offer for the majority of the field and for those who go to the race without a prep run it is impossible to tell if they have trained on or not.

Using sire data can be particularly enlightening when trying to predict Guineas performance and there is no real reason why a given sire should perform better in either the 2000 Guineas or 1000 Guineas, so it should pay to examine both races collectively.

Since 2009 Galileo has been the outstanding stallion for these races, with 27 runners who have yielded seven wins and a total of 17 placed finishes in total.

Horse Racing 2000 Guineas 1000 Guineas sires

IV (impact value) is a metric that shows how often an outcome occurs compared to all other possible outcomes and Galileo has an IV in this race of 3.89 with his offspring. Bearing in mind that any figure above 1 implies something is happening more often than average, that 3.89 figure is extremely impressive.

Dubawi is the other sire to look out for. He has had two Guineas winners and a further two places from just nine runners in these races and while his win and place percentages aren’t quite as impressive as those of Galileo, they are still excellent and as a sire in the 2000 Guineas and 1000 Guineas he has an IV of 3.59.

Of the 15 other sires to have produced winners since 2009, none has produced more than one and none has had more than eight runners. With such small samples it can be difficult to read too much into the data.

In the coming years we may see emerging sires such as Kingman improve their record – he has sired four runners in either the 2000 or 1000 Guineas but none of those has managed to place so far.

Another winner of this in the past decade, Frankel, has had seven Guineas runners and he too is yet to have a winner, but he has had one place from his offspring – Quadrilateral, who was third in 2020 when sent off the 11/4 favourite.

Frankel’s offspring are generally excelling over distances further than this mile trip though, so whether he can achieve a breakthrough in this race will be up for debate.

The importance of preparation

One way of potentially narrowing down the fields of the 2000 and 1000 Guineas is to examine the record of those who have had a prep run and those who haven’t.

Since 2009 three 2000 Guineas winners have had a prep run for the race and eight, including all of Aidan O’Brien’s winners, have made their seasonal debuts in the race. In fact, every one of Aidan O’Brien’s ten 2000 Guineas winners, dating back to King Of Kings in 1998, has gone straight to the race without a prep.

Of those three recent winners that had a prep run, the French-trained Makfi won the G3 Prix Djebel over 7f before triumphing in the 2000 Guineas while both Frankel and Night Of Thunder contested the 7f Greenham Stakes at Newbury. Frankel was victorious in his prep run, whereas Night Of Thunder was runner-up to Kingman before reversing that form at Newmarket.

This shows that the importance of the Craven Stakes, run over the 2000 Guineas course and distance, is probably exaggerated and the last Craven Stakes winner to go on to Guineas success was Haafhd in 2004.

Prep runs seem more important in the 1000 Guineas, and a losing preparation is clearly no negative. Since 2009 seven of the twelve 1000 Guineas winners have had a prep run (in a variety of trials) before heading to Newmarket and remarkably all seven of those Guineas winners failed to win their seasonal debut.

Of Aidan O’Brien’s five winners during that period, Homecoming Queen (won at 8-1 in 2012) was beaten on her seasonal debut but actually raced again before winning the 1000 Guineas, winning on her second start of the year. Winter (won at 9-1 in 2017) was second on her reappearance but Minding (won at 11-10 in 2016), Hermosa (won at 14-1 in 2019) and Love (won at 4-1 in 2020) all went straight to Newmarket without a prep run.

Five of the last six non-Aidan O’Brien-trained 1000 Guineas were beaten on seasonal debut ahead of the race.

It seems we are more likely to see the 1000 Guineas winner run before the big race than the 2000 Guineas winner and a defeat for a filly in the lead up to second Classic of the season certainly shouldn’t be deemed a negative.

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