2000 Guineas winners: Six of the best Newmarket stars
2000 Guineas winners, horse racing, famous 2000 Guineas winners

2000 Guineas winners: Six of the best Newmarket stars

Ahead of this year’s first colts’ Classic, we’re taking a trip down memory lane and picking out six of the best 2000 Guineas winners.

The Newmarket Classic was first staged in 1809 and has been won by some of Flat racing’s all-time greats.

Here are our favourites from a long and illustrious honours board:

1. Frankel (2011)

Few could believe their eyes as Tom Queally allowed the son of Galileo to blaze a trail at a scorching pace and the pair were fully 15 lengths clear at the halfway stage.

Many believed Sir Henry Cecil’s charge would be unable to keep up such an incredible gallop and that he would run out of steam in the latter stages.

However, Frankel silenced the sceptics in spectacular fashion and was still six lengths ahead at the line, producing one of the most dominant displays ever seen in a Classic as part of an incredible 14-race unbeaten career.

His Newmarket demolition job features in our list of great horse racing moments around the globe!

2. Brigadier Gerard (1971)

If Frankel takes top spot for being visually impressive, Brigadier Gerard comes in a close second on the strength of the horses he beat.

Dick Hern’s colt, the mighty Mill Reef and French raider My Swallow had all been star juveniles and won 18 of their 19 races heading to HQ, cleaning up all the major two-year-old prizes the previous season.

The Brigadier arrived without a warm-up outing and was sent off the third favourite, but he showed a blistering turn of speed to pick off his rivals and sprint three lengths clear, with jockey Joe Mercer declaring: “Not a moment’s trouble.”

Brigadier Gerard went on to win 17 of his 18 races, while Mill Reef was never beaten again, subsequently claiming Derby, Eclipse, King George and Arc de Triomphe glory.

3. Dancing Brave (1986)

Greville Starkey enjoyed an armchair ride as Guy Harwood’s colt cruised to the front alongside Green Desert and showed superior stamina to power three lengths clear over the final furlong.

The runner-up later became a dual-Group One scorer when dropped back in distance, while Dancing Brave bounced back from an unlucky defeat in the Derby to land Eclipse, King George and Arc de Triomphe victories.

“He was a horse that was so good, he could win at any distance,” commented handler Harwood and the American-bred bullet has to figure prominently in any list of famous 2000 Guineas winners.

4. El Gran Senor (1984)

This must be rated as another vintage renewal, with brilliant miler/sprinter Chief Singer, the hugely talented Lear Fan and future Arc de Triomphe winner Rainbow Quest all brushed aside by Vincent O’Brien’s classy colt.

Pat Eddery was at his imperious best as he allowed El Gran Senor to slipstream Lear Fan for much of the race before effortlessly drawing alongside the front-runner at the furlong pole.

Chief Singer briefly threatened to use his speed for a late pounce but El Gran Senor simply lengthened his stride and powered to a decisive victory.

5. Nashwan (1989)

After being lightly raced at two, this flashy chestnut was the subject of rave reports regarding his work on the gallops ahead of going for Classic glory on his seasonal reappearance.

Those whispers proved correct, as Nashwan took up the running two furlongs from home and galloped on strongly to score by a length from Exbourne.

This was another 2000 Guineas that had great strength in depth, with future star stallion Danehill going on to land a couple of Group One triumphs at six furlongs and Markofdistinction a subsequent QEII scorer at elite level.

6. Zafonic (1993)

Andre Fabre’s French raider had been beaten at 1/10 in his prep race across the Channel but redeemed his reputation with a jaw-dropping display at Newmarket.

Subsequent Breders’ Cup hero Barathea looked a big danger between the final two furlongs, but when Eddery pressed the button, Zafonic used his enormous stride to full effect and stormed home by three and a half lengths, breaking a 45-year-old record time.

Graham Goode’s commentary still sends pulses racing, as he declared: “This is a very good horse – this is Zafonic!”

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