It seems like only a blink of a shutter on a photo finish camera ago that Britain saw the 2014 Cheltenham Festival and the Aintree Grand National run. Now, here we are just five weeks into the British flat reason season and we have two of the five British Classics being run at Newmarket, headquarters to those in the business, this Saturday and Sunday. They are The 2000 and The 1000 Guineas for three year old colts and fillies respectively and both run over a mile.
When the races were first run in the early 19th Century sexism ran rampant, hence the difference in the prize money. The names of the races have remained the same, oh how we love tradition, but this year both colts and fillies are running for a first prize fund of £410,000. This is the equivalent of £233 for every yard the winning horse covers from start to finish. Winning times hover around 1 minute and 40 seconds, so each second the winner is running in the race earns £4,100 at an average speed of 36 mph from a standing start.
This year, at the time of writing, there are 16 colts declared and 26 fillies so to pick one out of both races to win is not easy. The simple guide I was given by a retired jockey was to check the state of the going on the day. Then go through the card checking the other runners and see if their best performances to date have been achieved over the same distance and the same conditions. It is a simple and methodical way to choose horses but he is still working for a salary and so am I. Oh well, here are my choices for tomorrow. Bookrunner at 33/1 and Toormore at 7/1.
The races are run on the Rowley Course at Newmarket over a straight mile. This course is named after King Charles II’s favourite horse ‘Old Rowley’. Myths and legends abound in racing and the one that could be true for this weekend is that the runners who lag behind with the washing get urged on by the thundering hooves of Old Rowley and King Charles who loved Newmarket so much.