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Britain's final Group 1 of 2022 is on Saturday
  1. Horse Racing

2000 Guineas and 1000 Guineas - Horse Racing: Preview

This weekend brings the opening British Classics of the new Flat racing season as Newmarket hosts their Guineas Festival from Friday until Sunday.

The colts are first off on Saturday afternoon at Headquarters in the 2000 Guineas and a day later it will be the finest three-year-old fillies in the UK and Ireland bidding for Rowley Mile glory in the 1000 Guineas.

With the fields now close to being set, we look ahead to Newmarket's Classic contests, which will be available on our Sports Live Streaming platform.

WATCH: From the Jockey Club, to the famous Warren Hill gallops and onto the historic Rowley Mile racecourse... This Is Newmarket Racing

Appleby firmly on Guineas Trail

Having firmly established himself as one of Britain's top handlers, Charlie Appleby heads into this weekend seeking a breakthrough Guineas victory.

Based in Newmarket, a win in a Rowley Mile Classic would surely mean that bit more to the Epsom Derby-winning trainer.

As things stand, he's got two outstanding candidates for the 2000 Guineas in the form of 11/10 chance Native Trail and 11/2 Coroebus.

Native Trail was the champion two-year-old last season, winning all four starts including the Dewhurst at Newmarket, while this month's reappearance saw him bagging the bet365 Craven Stakes over course and distance.

He briefly appeared to be in a scrap, despite odds of 1/4, but he cleared away to win by three-and-a-half-lengths from Claymore from the Jane Chapple-Hyam yard.

Will this prove to be the acid test for Native Trail as he seeks to give his sire Oasis Dream a first Guineas winner?

Coroebus has less experience but perhaps more scope for improvement. Also in the Godolphin blue, he won two of his three starts last year.

They all came over a mile at Newmarket, with a neck defeat behind Royal Patronage in a Group 2 in September his only blemish.

He won a Group 3 at HQ afterwards and comes into this a fresh horse, meaning Appleby certainly has a strong team for the opening Classic.

Old adversaries renewing rivalries

Godolphin and Coolmore have been arch-rivals for a generation and more and their rivalry is now right back on track, with Appleby the man most responsible for putting the boys in blue in the picture again.

Aidan O'Brien simply continues on his trophy-laden path and the Ballydoyle supremo will have high hopes that 11/2 Luxembourg can become his 11th winner of the 2000 Guineas.

Like Native Trail, he is also unbeaten, winning three-from-three last season. A runaway win in the Group 2 Beresford Stakes at the Curragh on his second start was followed by an ultimately decisive Vertem Futurity Stakes score at Doncaster in October.

He messed a bit in front on Town Moor, but still had nearly two lengths in hand at the line. Ryan Moore's mount is a key player for a trainer who knows just how to prepare a runner for a comeback effort in this race.

Royal Ascot winner Point Lonsdale is 12/1 for O'Brien having lost his unbeaten record when second to Native Trail in the National Stakes at the Curragh in September over seven-furlongs.

Away from those big names, the Richard Fahey-trainer Perfect Power is 12/1 following his impressive Greenham win at Newbury this month, though he must prove his stamina upped to a mile.

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Missing Inspiral shakes up Fillies' Classic

There's no doubting the news on Sunday morning that long-time antepost favourite Inspiral misses the 1000 Guineas has dented the allure of the race to an extent.

John and Thady Gosden's unbeaten runner won the bet365 Fillies Mile at Newmarket in the autumn to complete an unbeaten juvenile season and the Cheveley Park Stud-owned inmate was expected to take some stopping.

Her trainer reported she missed a piece of work in her preparation and Inspiral is now set to be aimed instead at the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot in June.

Stopping O'Brien the key

Aidan O'Brien doesn't yet hold the record for 1000 Guineas wins, but if recent years are anything to judge by, it won't be long.

The Irishman has won five of the last six renewals as the likes of Minding, Winter, Love and Mother Earth have prevailed, with only Richard Hannon's rank outsider Billesdon Brook upsetting his dominance in 2018.

With Inspiral now consigned to barracks, stopping the Ballydoyle chief holds the key to this race.

Tenebrism, in the same ownership as Luxembourg, is trading at 11/4 for Newmarket glory. The daughter of Caravaggio is bred for speed and her two wins last season came at 5f/6f, latterly in the Cheveley Park Stakes at this venue - she now must prove her stamina over the mile distance.

O'Brien's challenge could also include Galileo filly Tuesday at 6/1, while the Irish challenge at the front of the market is further increased by Jessica Harrington's Discoveries at 9/2 - winner of the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes at the Curragh on her final two-year-old start.

Value with the home team?

With Ireland's grip on the market strong, perhaps the 1000 Guineas value lies in the British challenge.

Appleby sent out Wild Beauty to win the Fred Darling at Newbury this month in her prep run, she's now 11/1 for Classic glory and could be an improving filly in the coming months.

Last year's Albany Stakes winner Sandrine at 16/1 could also be one to consider for Andrew Balding. That six-furlong soft-ground win was a nod to her possible stamina for this trip.

She was no match for Tenebrism here over 6f on fast ground in the Cheveley Park in September, but finished a solid third on her first crack in Group 1 company.

She was excellent in the first few months of last season, which bodes well for a bright start to her Classic term, and that Newmarket form is another plus-point for her supporters, as the home team attempts to defy a strong Irish challenge.

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