Newmarket will stage the first British Champions Series of the flat season when it hosts the eagerly anticipated QIPCO 2000 Guineas on Saturday, and as always, a significant Irish influence on proceedings is expected.

The glitzy event at the Rowley Mile in Suffolk on 4th May serves up the first of the season’s five British Classics, and with a bumper £500,000 prize pot on offer, competition is expected to be stiff.

Ranked among the most prestigious races on the flat circuit, the 2000 Guineas was won by Chaldean and Frankie Dettori last year. However, an Aidan O’Brien-trained charge from Coolmore, City of Troy, has been dominating the ante-post betting in the markets for 2024.

Why does Coolmore dominate the 2000 Guineas?

Coolmore Stud, widely acknowledged to be the world’s best thoroughbred racehorse breeding institution, needs little introduction and the ‘Home of Champions’ has been churning out elite equestrian athletes for decades.

Indeed, success at Newmarket has been common for Coolmore, and the operation’s preeminent trainer, Aidan O’Brien, has won the 2000 Guineas a record-breaking 10 times.

O’Brien first tasted success in the Guineas with King of Kings in (1998), and once his duck was broken further winners arrived with Rock of Gibraltar (2002), Footstepsinthesand (2005), George Washington (2006), Henrythenavigator (2008), Camelot (2012), Gleneagles (2015), Churchill (2017), Saxon Warrior (2018) and Magna Grecia (2019).

O’Brien has only had two finishes inside the front six since his last triumph with Magna Grecia – however, his record of eight winners (40%) and 11 placed horses (55%) from the last 20 editions of the 2000 Guineas still puts him streets ahead of the rest.

Interestingly, the O’Brien blueprint for the Guineas includes holding his entrants back, and all 10 of his previous winners of the renewal made their seasonal reappearance at the race and had no warm-up run as part of preparations.

O’Brien has been content carrying out his fine-tuning work on his own patch away from public view, and it’s difficult to argue against that formula when you analyse O’Brien and Coolmore’s record at Newmarket.

With O’Brien providing oversight, the in-house expertise at Coolmore is unparalleled, and their know-how, coupled with their razor-sharp eye for talent, allows them to identify and hone talented young horses. Only three-year-olds can compete at the 2000 Guineas and Coolmore is the best around at bringing them on.

However, O’Brien hasn’t enjoyed a win at the 2000 Guineas since 2019, and while there isn’t a standout prep event for the race, it is worth noting that five of its last six winners did have a preparatory run before competing.

The last five winners of the 2000 Guineas have emerged from prep runs at different tracks (Newbury, Newmarket, Leopardstown, Newcastle and Doncaster), while 10 separate circuits have provided the last 20 winners of the race overall.

O’Brien has entered four horses into this year’s iteration, with the heavily backed City of Troy currently marked with the tightest price in the markets. O’Brien has fielded the Guineas favourite 14 times since 1999. However, just four of those favourites delivered the goods (George Washington, Gleneagles, Camelot and Magna Grecia).

Still, despite missing out in each of the last four renewals, O’Brien’s draw remains considerable and he has pulled top jockeys, including Ryan Moore and Frankie Dettori, into his orbit. At the time of writing, the riders of O’Brien’s four runners in this year’s 2000 Guineas have yet to be announced, though Moore should have his pick from that quartet again.

The 2024 Coolmore runners

City of Troy – Jockey (TBC) – Record (111) – Weight (9-2) – OR (125)

Described by Aidan O’Brien as the “best two-year-old I’ve ever trained”, City of Troy is the Coolmore prize piece in this year’s 2000 Guineas at Newmarket. Still unbeaten, the son of Justify is shaping up to be a potential superstar and has been lumbered with a tight odds-on price to prevail on Saturday.

City of Troy won all three races as a juvenile, with his performance in the Group 2 Superlative Stakes at Newmarket last summer being particularly eye-catching, while his effortless push to first ahead of a competitive field in the Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes on the Rowley Mile only added to his burgeoning reputation.

Speaking to ITV Racing recently, Coolmore partner Paul Smith also gave City of Troy a big build-up, saying:

He’s in great form, he worked today and we’re very happy with him. Dean (Gallagher) was delighted with him, Aidan was delighted with him, fingers crossed he gets there in one piece, but it is all systems go.

He’s grown a little bit, you’ll see that at Newmarket next week. He’s got a beautiful temperament, he had that as a two-year-old and still has it now, he takes his work very well, he’s just a joy to be around. They are very happy with him.

City of Troy will move up in trip to 1m for the first time on Saturday, though this is likely to encourage even better movement and it’s difficult to find any holes in a horse that is already looking like a generational talent.

Diego Velazquez – Jockey (TBC) – Record (116) – Weight (9-2) – (110)

Diego Velazquez is the least fancied of Aidan O’Brien’s four horses at the 2000 Guineas. However, it wouldn’t be wise to write him off too early, despite his listing down the reckoning in the ante-post markets.

His victory in the Group 2 Champions Juvenile Stakes at the Irish Champions Weekend at Leopardstown last September by half a length wasn’t achieved in any great style, and further doubt was raised when he landed in sixth from a field of seven at Doncaster a month later.

Nevertheless, he is held in high regard by those in the know, and while it’s difficult to make a case for Diego Valezquez as a potential winner, he has the ability to defy his big price for Coolmore.

Henry Longfellow – Jockey (TBC) – Record (111) – Weight (9-2) – OR (119)

Aidan O’Brien has left Henry Longfellow in the 2000 Guineas for now, though most observers expect him to be withdrawn and entered into the French 2000 Guineas the following weekend.

However, as unlikely a runner as he is, he is still worth profiling on the off-chance, and Henry Longfellow would have serious claims and would perhaps even run as second-favourite if kept in the mix.

Unbeaten in three races as a juvenile, Henry Longfellow has power to burn and would really ruffle feathers if was kept in the race on final declaration day.

Another Coolmore youngster with a heavy sprinkle of stardust, the colt was a winner by five lengths when last seen at the Curragh carrying Ryan Moore last September, and the same pairing won at the same track as a 2/9 favourite a month before that. Indeed, Moore has ridden Henry Longfellow to victory three times.

Still, it would be a surprise if Coolmore chose to place two leading contenders in the same Guineas race this weekend.

River Tiber – Jockey (TBC) – Record (11133) – Weight (9-2) – OR (112)

Perhaps the best early two-year-old from Coolmore’s stable last season, River Tiber completed a summer hat-trick last year with a win by a neck in the Coventry Stakes at Ascot in June, though the hype machine slowed two months later when his standards slipped.

He was beaten in France in August and came up short again when expected to shine at Newmarket in September 2023 in two races over six furlongs.

However, if he is included in the final shake-up this week, there is some untapped potential to release and River Tiber could outperform his odds.

Will 2024 see another 2000 Guineas Trophy for Coolmore?

Aidan O’Brien will be itching to end a five-year 2000 Guineas dry spell for Coolmore in 2024, and City of Troy is expected to be the race’s chief protagonist. With Ryan Moore widely expected to claim the saddle, City of Troy should be tough to stop if he recaptures the form we saw last season, and his status as the big favourite seems well-earned.

However, predicting outcomes at the Guineas is rarely straightforward and just four of the last 12 editions of the race were won by the favourite.

Charlie Appleby’s Notable Speech is an unbeaten entrant and could spoil Coolmore’s aspirations. The improver carries some risk on his switch to turf, though his speed could make him a menace at Newmarket. Appleby had a 2000 Guineas winner with Coroebus in 2023, so he knows how to compete.

Local Suffolk stable Juddmonte produced last year’s winner (Chaldean) and it is represented this year by another horse with excellent credentials in Ralph Beckett’s Task Force. He has been a sprint racer until now, but has serious appeal at odds of around 12/1.

Regardless of the angle you choose to pursue on Saturday, TonyBet has got you covered with some of the keenest odds and best prices around for the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.

Bet on horse racing with TonyBet today!