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A Closer Look at the Irish 2,000 Guineas

The Irish 2,000 Guineas is the first leg of the Irish Triple Crown series completed by the Irish Derby and the Irish St. Leger Stakes. The series is modeled on the original Triple Crown hosted in England and has become just as popular as its English counterpart.

A Closer Look at the
Irish 2000 Guineas

The race is hosted annually in May during the Tattersalls Irish Guineas Festival at the Curragh Racecourse. It is the highlight event along with the 1000 Guineas. While the 1000 Guineas is only open to fillies, the 2000 Guineas is open to thoroughbred colts and fillies aged three. It stretches over the distance of one mile on a right-handed course. A weight requirement of 9 stones applies to males, whereas, females must carry 8 stones and 11 pounds.

fact file

location: Curragh Racecourse

grade: Group 1

race type: Flat

History of the Irish 2000 Guineas

The Irish 2,000 Guineas was introduced in 1921, one year before the inauguration of the Irish 1,000 Guineas which is exclusive to 3-year-old fillies. Today, the Irish 2,000 Guineas is an internationally acclaimed event that attracts thoroughbreds from the finest international stables and is followed all over the world.

Contenders who have done well in the English 2,000 Guineas Stakes often go on to compete in this major event at Curragh. By the same token, runners who do well in the Irish 2,000 Guineas are likely to go on to compete in the St. James's Palace Stakes at the Royal Ascot Festival in June. This shows that the Irish 2,000 Guineas has truly become an important event in any Group 1 horse's three-year-old season.


While this race is nearly a century younger than the English 2000 Guineas, some of the best trainers, jockeys, and horses in the world have given record-setting performances at Curragh (as of 2017).

  • Aidan O'Brien holds the title of "most successful trainer" with 11 winners including Desert King, Saffron Walden, Black Minnaloushe, Rock of Gibraltar, Henrythenavigator, Mastercraftsman, Roderic O'Connor, Power, Magician, Gleneagles, and Churchill from 1997 to 2017.

  • The honour of "most successful jockey" is shared by Tommy Burns and Martin Quirke. Both won on five occasions - Burns from 1921 to 1948 and Quirke from 1929 to 1941.

  • Arctic Storm (1962) holds the record for fastest time of 1 minute and 35 seconds.

Best Moments

Since the inaugural running in 1921, won by Soldennis, the Irish 2000 Guineas has hosted top talent making for historic moments that built its prestige on the world stage. Below are some of the best (as of 2017).

jockey racing horse
  • The longest-priced winner of the past four decades was 20/1 shot Black Minnaloushe who shocked spectators by winning in 2001. It was the highlight victory of the colt's extremely brief career.

  • Only nine thoroughbreds have won both the English and Irish 2000 Guineas as three-year-olds starting with Right Tack in 1969. The rest of the honour roll includes Don't Forget Me (1987), Triol (1990), Roderigo De Triano (1992), Rock of Gibraltar (2002), Cockney Rebel (2007), Henrythenavigator (2008), Gleneagles (2015), and Churchill (2017). Each was a historic moment in the history of the Irish 2000 Guineas.