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A Detailed Guide to the 1000 Guineas Stakes

The 1000 Guineas Stakes is the second race of the British Five Classics and is run the day after the 2000 Guineas at the same Rowley Mile track at the Newmarket racecourse.

While the 2000 event is primarily for colts, the 1000 Guineas is for fillies only that are three years and older. The 1000 Guineas and the Epsom Oaks are the only two fillies-only classics, and along with the St. Leger Stakes, they comprise the Fillies’ Triple Crown.

Except for the participants, it’s a replica of the 2000 Guineas event. It offers the same distance and now also provides an identical purse and shared sponsor. Both races comprise the Guineas Weekend at Newmarket, and as they take place over a bank holiday weekend, they each enjoy filled spectator stands.

Past years have showcased the talents of famed jockeys like Lester Piggott and Frankie Dettori. Her Majesty The Queen, Elizabeth II, also claimed a first-place finish for her Highclere in the 1974 1000 Guineas.

Overview of the 1000 Guineas Stakes

First Official Race
1814
Venue
Rowley Mile, Newmarket
Race Type
Flat
Location
Newmarket, Suffolk
Length
One Mile (1,609 Meters)
Timing
End of April or First Sunday in May
Official Website
newmarket.thejockeyclub.co.uk

History

Part of our introduction detailed the similarities between the 2000 Guineas Stakes and the 1000 Guineas. Although the 1000 competition was introduced five years later, it’s also a direct result of the efforts made by Sir Charles Bunbury.

Bunbury, a member of the House of Commons, was a proponent of horse racing as both an owner and member of the Jockey Club. You’ll find that Bunbury’s name frequently appears in the history books.

He was instrumental in the creation of the Epsom Derby and the 2000 Guineas Stakes, in addition to the 1000 Guineas.

The First Race in 1814

The first-ever running of the 1000 Guineas Stakes was held in 1814, five years after the inaugural 2000 Guineas. Charlotte was the first to cross the finish line and holds the starting position in the winners’ ledger.

In yet another crossover of the two races, Bill Clift was the jockey for both Charlotte and Wizard, the first 2000 Guineas Stakes Champion.

The Fillies’ Triple Crown

The 1000 Guineas is the youngest of the five British Classics. The full list of Classics is as follows.

  • 2000 Guineas
  • 1000 Guineas
  • The Oaks
  • Epsom Derby
  • Leger Stakes

Although it’s run second in the season, following the 2000 Guineas event, it is the kick-off event for the Fillies’ Triple Crown. It’s considered the trial for the Epsom Oaks, which is the second leg of the Fillies’ Triple Crown.

The final leg is the St. Leger Stakes, which is also the final race in the quest for the primary English Triple Crown.

The three-content Fillies’ Classics has graduating race lengths. The 1000 Guineas starts things off over a distance of one mile (1,609 meters). From there, the Epsom Oaks (aka The Oaks) is next at one mile, four furlongs, and 10 yards. The St. Leger completes the schedule, coming in at one mile, six furlongs, 132 yards.

This concept of the ever-increasing stretch applies to the entire schedule of the five British Classics, and it’s something that has been replicated and adopted in several other countries, too.

Nine horses have managed to win all three races that make up the Fillies’ Triple Crown, including Sceptre in 1902 and Formosa in 1868. The most recent winner was Oh So Sharp in 1985.

The Naming of the Stakes

The 1000 Guineas Stakes followed its predecessor in the formula for its naming rights. Each Guineas event was named after the amount of the inaugural year’s purse. A guinea, at the time, was valued at 21 shillings.

The 1000 Guineas name came in just under the wire, though, as guineas were only minted until 1815.

While the 2000 Guineas historically provided a bigger purse, the amounts have been the same since 2001.

Continuous Racing

The 1000 and 2000 events again go hand in hand in that they’ve been run annually, even during wartime when other contests were moved to alternative racecourses or canceled outright.

Both of the Guineas events have been held at Newmarket for over 200 years now.

Records That Haven’t Budged

The 1000 Guineas was dominated by one owner, the 4th Duke of Grafton, with his stable collecting eight first-place finishes in nine years from 1819 to 1827. Jockey Frank Buckle rode five of the eight to victory.

Robert Robson also earned the all-time winningest trainer designation with all eight out of the Duke’s eight horses, as well as the 1818 win by Corinne, with another owner.

The records made in those first years of racing action still hold up today. Additionally, the leading jockey title was established in 1883 with George Fordham. Fordham took seven runners to first-place positions from 1859 to 1883. His record is still yet to be broken.

The Stand-Out Horses

The 1000 Guineas Stakes maintains an impressive roster of horses with memorable names and noteworthy achievements.

In 1859, Mayonaise sailed across the finish line, enjoying an incredible 20-length lead.

Sun Chariot, owned by King George VI, was beaten just once in her nine races and claimed first-place glory at the Oaks and St. Leger, as well as the 1000 Guineas in 1942.

Pretty Polly can proudly claim a career-winning record of 22-2. She went 9-0 as a two-year-old and then added the Guineas to the list in a record-time finish in 1904.

The 1000 Guineas Stakes Milestones

The 1000 Guineas was the race that determined the British Classics. Even though the St. Leger had been active since 1776, the Classics were officially established after the first running of the 1000 Guineas back in 1814.

The following are other milestones in this prominent race’s history.

1814 The first ever 1000 Guineas Stakes was run, with Charlotte taking the victory with jockey Bill Clift.
1840 Crucifix claimed the shortest-odds win of 1/10.
1859 Mayonaise claimed 1000 Guineas Stakes victory with an incredible 20-length finish.
1825 One walkover winner in 1825 prompted the fewest runners record.
1827 The 4th Duke of Grafton became the all-time leading owner with eight wins in nine years, starting in 1819.
1827 Arab’s win that clinched a victory for the 4th Duke of Grafton also placed trainer Robert Robson in the record books with his 9th first-place finish.
1883 24 years after his first 1000 Guineas win, jockey George Fordham became the all-time leading jockey with his 7th win courtesy of Hauteur.
1918 The longest-odds winner was in the 1918 contest when Ferry won despite 50/1 odds.
1926 The competition took off with 29 runners, the most in race history.
2001 The purse for the 1000 Guineas was set to be the same as for the 2000 Guineas Stakes that takes place the previous day.
2009 Ghanaati claimed one of the few modern-times records with the fastest time of 1 minute, 34.22 seconds.

Royal Racing

The Royals are known for their affinity for racing and for taking home a place in the record books from time to time. The 1000 Guineas Stakes have claimed several Royal winners over the years.

We’ve already discussed the all-time winning owner nod going to the 4th Duke of Grafton in the early 1800s, but that’s just the beginning for Royal racing recognition. His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales’ horse, Thais, was champion in the 1896 contest.

In 1928, His Majesty King George V, Queen Elizabeth II’s grandfather, enjoyed a win from his runner, Scuttle. His son, King George VI, also claimed victories with Sun Chariot in 1942 as well as Hypericum in 1946.

Not to be left out, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II joined her family as a first-place owner at the 1000 Guineas when Highclere was first to cross the finish line in 1974.

Newmarket Racecourse

Newmarket comes alive during race season. Guineas weekend is held at the end of April or the first week of May each year and includes both the 1000 and the 2000 Stakes, as well as parties, music, and other celebrations during the Guineas Festival.

Newmarket is host to other events as well, though. The King Charles II Stakes is later in May, and Spring Meets and concerts fill in a hectic spring and summer calendar.

The property features two courses, with the Rowley Mile the site of both Guineas competitions.

London commuters should expect up to a two-hour trip, but it’s well worth it. The Guineas Festival features two of the Group 1 British Classics, as well as dining, private boxes, parties, music, and family entertainment.

Please see the following page for more information on this famous horse racing venue.

Recent Winners

The following are the most recent winners of the 1000 Guineas Stakes.

Year Horse Jockey Official Time
2017WinterWayne Lordan1:35.66
2016MindingRyan Moore1:36.53
2015LegatissimoRyan Moore1:34.60
2014Miss FranceMaxime Guyon1:37.40
2013Sky LanternRichard Hughes1:36.38
2012Homecoming QueenRyan Moore1:40.45
2011Blue BuntingFrankie Dettori1:39.27
2010Special DutyStéphane Pasquier1:39.66
2009GhanaatiRichard Hills1:34.22
2008NatagoraChristophe Lemaire1:38.99

It bears noting that trainer Aidan O’Brien, who was behind the scenes of the 2012, 2016, and 2017 first-place finishes, just broke the 2000 Guineas Stakes record for trainers when he claimed his eighth victory in 2017. The previous record had been in place for more than 150 years.

The 1000 Guineas Stakes Accomplishments

When you look at some of the records held by 1000 Guineas participants, you’ll easily see the longevity in this competition. Some achievements haven’t been surpassed in nearly 200 years.

Leading Trainer
Robert Robson claimed his first win just four years in and then racked up eight more within the following nine seasons. His nine victories are still the most for 1000 Guineas trainers.
Leading Jockey
George Fordham may not have clinched the title as early as Robert Robson, but Fordham rode seven different runners to first-place finishes between 1859 and 1883. Mayonaise, the horse responsible for his first victory, came in 20 lengths ahead of the competition.
Longest Winning Margin
Speaking of Mayonaise, the 20-length finish in 1859 is still a 1000 Guineas record.
Longest Odds
The 50/1 odds didn’t prevent Ferry from a first-place finish in 1918.
Shortest Odds
At only 1/10 odds, Crucifix expectedly beat the competition in 1840.
Fewest Runners
Believe it or not, only one horse participated and qualified, so Tontine was a walkover winner in 1925.
Most Runners
A far cry from 1925, 29 runners lined up the very next year for the 1926 stakes.

For More Information on the 1000 Guineas Stakes

The current 1000 Guineas Stakes is title-sponsored by QIPCO, just like the 2000 event. QIPCO is a private, family-owned-and-run investment company and retains the rights until 2024.

The 1000 Guineas is the second part of Guineas weekend at Newmarket following the 2000 Guineas Stakes just the day before. Visitors come from all over the UK and other countries to watch these Group 1 runners try to make racing history.

There’s plenty of betting, as well as something for everyone in the family, from dining to shopping to festival activities. You can visit the Jockey Club’s Newmarket website for more information, including tickets, transportation, and local accommodations.

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