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Guineas Festival 2021

Saturday May 1st - Sunday May 2nd

You know the flat racing season is truly here when the time comes to focus on the first two Classic races of the year, held at the historic racecourse of Newmarket. It’s time to see which of the exciting new generation of three-year-old horses are ready to step up and claim a place in a roll of honour that stretches back more than 200 years.

The two-day Newmarket Guineas festival features the opening pair of Classics each year. Both are held over a mile and each represents a stern test of the credentials of the leading colts and fillies. The 2000 Guineas, for colts, was first held in 1809 and its winners include some of the most legendary names in the history of the sport. It is now ten years since Frankel, arguably the finest flat racehorse of all time, announced his greatness with a stunning runaway victory.

Fillies contest the 1000 Guineas, first run in 1814 and with an equally prestigious list of winners. These races take centre stage at a fabulous two-day Guineas Festival that attracts the best horses in the UK, Ireland and Europe and announces to the world that the flat season is properly up and running.

Martin Booth
By Martin Booth  
Updated: 23 April 2021 10:00 am


The Guineas Festival epitomises the extensive and proud history of UK horse racing. People flock to the Rowley Mile at Newmarket to see the latest additions to a long line of superb horses. Sadly, the 2021 meeting will be held behind closed doors, but the action on the course is certain to be as fascinating and exhilarating as ever.

The 2000 Guineas and 1000 Guineas are so named because they were the original prizes to the winner when the races first started. In more than 200 years they have never been cancelled, even during World Wars. Last year they were pushed back to June as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Back in its traditional slot at the start of May, the Guineas Festival promises a feast of high quality flat racing.

As well as the first two Classics of the season, there will be a host of high-class supporting races for punters around the world to enjoy. Will we see the emergence of a colt who will go on to dominate the season? Could there be a filly in action who becomes one of the legends of the sport? We will find the answers to so many questions when the Newmarket Guineas Festival gets under way.

Track map


Distance: 1 Mile


Prize money: £212,663



4/1 7/2
Thunder Moon
5/1 5/1
6/1 6/1
11/2 6/1
Master Of The Seas
8/1 8/1
All prices correct at time of publication


Santa Barbara
5/4 5/4
Alcohol Free
6/1 15/2
Saffron Beach
8/1 8/1
Mother Earth
9/1 9/1
All prices correct at time of publication


The first Classic of the season promises to be an extremely competitive affair, with an amazingly wide-open look to the top of the 2000 Guineas betting market. If the race itself is as closely fought as the battle to start favourite, we are in for a treat over the Rowley Mile.



Wembley won only once in his five runs as a two-year-old but he was never out of the first two and it was his final run that marked him out as a horse to watch this year.

The Aidan O’Brien-trained colt finished close behind stablemate St Mark’s Basilica in what looks in retrospect like a very good edition of the Dewhurst Stakes over seven furlongs at Newmarket in October. Wembley shaped in the closing stages that day like a horse with tremendous potential and O’Brien has spoken warmly about him in the countdown to the 2000 Guineas. He looks ideal for this race.



Mac Swiney advertised his credentials as a horse to watch when he stormed home in the Group 1 Vertem Futurity at Doncaster in October. The nature of his victory suggested that he might want further than a mile as a three-year-old, but if the 2000 Guineas is run at a searching pace he could spring a surprise.

He is trained by Jim Bolger, who also handled Mac Swiney’s sire New Approach, beaten by a nose in the Guineas on his way to winning the 2008 Derby. Epsom may be Mac Swiney’s ultimate target but don’t discount the chances of him putting in a very big run here.



Naval Crown is one horse looking to disrupt the market in the 2000 Guineas this weekend. The Godolphin-owned horse has two wins to his name and has won over this distance before, while trainer Charlie Appleby will be buoyed by the three-year-old’s recent form.

He won well at York in August and twice placed in Group 3 races in France. With odds of 50/1 available with some bookies, punters will definitely fancy a punt on Naval Crown over the Rowley Mile.

Charlie Appleby, who has won the race twice before, said: “He ticks a few boxes in that he has shown a good level of form and has plenty of experience, while he has displayed decent gate speed on his runs so far. We're hopeful rather than confident of his chances.”

Punters looking for a reason to back him should look no further than his run at Meydan when he held off a late charge from Master of the Seas to win well.


Only one favourite has prevailed in the 1000 Guineas in the last ten renewals – so a little bit of study is definitely in order here. The first fillies’ Classic is always a thrilling spectacle, and there is no shortage of 1000 Guineas tips who could reward an investment.



It is a measure of Aidan O’Brien’s iron grip on the Newmarket Guineas Festival that a horse trained by him can be so short in the 1000 Guineas betting after just one run. In fairness, that run at the Curragh in October was hugely impressive. Santa Barbara waltzed away from a decent field and this well-bred daughter of Camelot is clearly a serious contender.

O’Brien said recently that Santa Barbara was “exceptional” on the gallops at home but admitted she’s short of experience going into the 1000 Guineas. If confidence in her remains high and is reflected in a short starting price, she could extend O’Brien’s current run to five wins in six runnings of the 1000 Guineas.



Sacred put a very useful piece of form in the book when she won the seven-furlong Group 3 Nell Gwyn Stakes at Newmarket in April. Ironically, the way William Haggas’s charge sprinted away from her field in eye-catching fashion in the final furlong might hint at her vulnerability in the 1000 Guineas.

There’s plenty of speed and not too much stamina in her pedigree and the extra furlong of the 1000 Guineas might be a challenge. But the way she carved through the field at Newmarket suggests she’s toughened up over the winter and if the ground is good or better she could be a contender.



Lullaby Moon eyes up for a fifth career win as she joins the extremely talented field in the 1000 Guineas this Sunday. A daughter of Belardo, she has won three of her last four races since Ralph Beckett took over training duties last year. And all of those wins took place over the 6f and 7f distance - so the Rowley Mile could suit her perfect. On top of that, the Amo Racing Limited & Charles Obank-owned horse has won four out of six races on the flat and finished third in another.

With odds of 33/1 available with Paddy Power and Betfair, and 25/1 with other bookies, her form will definitely attract a few punters on Sunday. It’s worth noting, however, that this will be her first race of the year, so she may be slightly lacking the sharpness required to beat off the competition.

It will also concern punters that her last two wins came on soft and heavy conditions. Despite this, she has likely shown enough to be in with a chance if things go her way early on, especially with the impressive determination she showed last time out. She battled brilliantly to hold off a great challenge from Zamaani to take home first place in the William Hill Two Year Old Trophy at Redcar last October.


When you’ve worked out your 2000 and 1000 Guineas tips, we hope you have an enjoyable weekend betting on the Guineas Festival.

However, it’s also absolutely essential that you bet responsibly and within your means at all times. We understand that it can be tempting to get carried away by the excitement of a big meeting and wager more than you can afford. But we urge you to enjoy this feast of fabulous horse racing, enjoy the betting and remember – this is supposed to be a fun leisure experience rather than a vehicle for making money.

Newmarket Guineas FAQs

When is the 1000 Guineas?

The 1000 Guineas horse race takes place at 3.40 on the afternoon of Sunday May 2, the second day of the Newmarket Guineas Festival. The 1000 Guineas is for fillies only and is run over a straight mile of the historic course, which is known as the headquarters of the British racing industry.

When is the 2000 Guineas?

The start time for the 2021 2000 Guineas is 3.40 on the afternoon of Saturday May 1, the first day of the Newmarket Guineas Festival. It is a race open to both colts and fillies – although fillies very rarely run in it – and is run over the historic Rowley Mile.

Who won the 2000 Guineas 2020?

The 2020 2000 Guineas was pushed back in the calendar to June because of the disruption to racing caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. It was won in a record time of 1:34.72 by Kameko, ridden by Oisin Murphy and trained by Andrew Balding. Starting at 10/1, Kameko forced his way to the front late on to win by a neck.

What time is the 2000 Guineas?

The 2000 Guineas starts at 3.40 on Saturday May 1. This is the first Classic of each year. It is also the first leg of the British Triple Crown, which also comprises the Derby and St Leger. No horse has won all three since the legendary Nijinsky achieved the feat in 1970.