2000 Guineas Tips: O'Brien to claim more Classic glory at Newmarket

2000 Guineas Tips: Aidan O'Brien is bidding for an 11th win in the Newmarket feature.
2000 Guineas Tips: Aidan O'Brien is bidding for an 11th win in the Newmarket feature.

Steve Chambers takes a look at the 2000 Guineas, and picks out his best bet for the Group 1 Classic, which is run at Newmarket on Saturday...

A field of fifteen has been declared for the 2021 2000 Guineas, which will take centre stage at Newmarket this weekend, and unsurprisingly Aidan O'Brien will unleash a strong battalion at the first Classic of the season, and the master of Ballydoyle is bidding for a staggering eleventh win in the three-year-old Classic.

Spearheading the O'Brien team appears to be Wembley, who is the mount of stable number one Ryan Moore and the son of Galileo has been well-backed all week and is now heading the betting. A model of consistency in his two-year-old campaign, Wembley only managed to win one of his six career races as a juvenile, but having ran an excellent second in the National Stakes at the Curragh ended the campaign with a second placed finish in the Dewhurst at Newmarket. He's likely to improve for the step up to a mile, but while you have to respect him he could find one or two too good once again.

The second shot fired from the O'Brien gun is Battleground, who showed his class when winning the Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot before following up in the Vintage Stakes at Glorious Goodwood. Sent over to the Breeders' Cup, he could only finish second in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf, so is now on the mission to return to winning ways on British soil. He most certainly has to come into calculations, but he may just lack the class to down stablemate Wembley, so may have to settle for minor honours.

The third and final O'Brien raider is the eye-catching Van Gogh, who may be destined for a career over further, but for the time being he could prove to be a real class act over a mile. Having been earmarked as a potential Derby contender, O'Brien's decision to let Van Gogh take his chance here suggests that the son of American Pharaoh may possess speed and stamina, and at double-figured odds, makes huge appeal

He may have only won two of his seven two-year-old races, but he ran some excellent races in Group company last season, with a second to One Ruler in the Autumn Stakes an eye-catching performance. However, his last outing saw him at his best as he bounded to a four-length victory in the Group 1 Prix Criterium International at Saint-Cloud over a mile. With more improvement to come as a three-year-old, Van Gogh has the potential to land the Guineas/Derby double and join an elite group, and if Seamie Heffernan can utilise his engine then he could well outclass his rivals and claim victory here.

Not to be outdone by the O'Brien team, Godolphin will saddle their own triumvirate and the boys in blue will fancy their chances of landing the prize with One Ruler and Master Of The Seas looking their main two contenders.

One Ruler was the horse that beat Van Gogh in that aforementioned Autumn Stakes, so he will certainly be on the vicinity if replicating that sort of display, but he was unable to end last season on a winning note when finishing second in the Vertem Futurity Trophy at Doncaster, and it could be that Van Gogh has more potential as a three-year-old can can reverse their Newmarket form from last season.

Master Of The Seas lines up on the back of a fine win in the Craven Stakes at Newmarket in early April, so he will have race fitness on his side. A winner of the Superlative Stakes at the start of his juvenile career, the Dubawi colt failed to kick on when fourth in the National Stakes at the Curragh. He was going away in the Craven, but this is a whole lot tougher for the Charlie Appleby-trained raider, and he could prove vulnerable to a classier rival.

Joseph O'Brien's Thunder Moon was the winner of that red-hot National Stakes at the Curragh and will be looking to frank that form, but he was unable to kick on when third in the Dewhurst Stakes at the end of last season. A clash with Wembley for the third time will certainly get Flat fans' pulses racing, and it would be no surprise to see him frank the National Stakes form, but he may just find a couple too good on the day.

Of the others, the Charlie Hills-trained Mutasaabeq was a phenomenal winner of a conditions event at Newmarket earlier in the season, which forced the connections to supplement him for this, but this is a whole lot tougher, and he is too short in the betting. Richard Hannon's Chindit flopped in the Dewhurst when well fancied, but the Champagne Stakes winner bounced back to form this campaign with a win in the Greenham Stakes, and he could prove to be a solid each-way play.

However, it's the Ballydoyle team that can claim a monumental eleventh win in the race, with Van Gogh claiming victory in what looks a wide open renewal of the Group 1 feature.

2000 Guineas
Van Gogh silk

Van Gogh

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